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Braila, Romania 2017
TRAVEL GUIDE THROUGH EUROPE 2017
General presentation of the country Bulgaria is like a miniature of all natural beauties On a territory of nearly 111 000 square kilometers you can see and enjoy magnificent mountain ridges, cozy sand and stone beaches, green pastures and deep caves. Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country. Bulgaria's population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture, all of which rely on local natural resources. The country's current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative, and economic centralisation. It is a member of the European Union, NATO, and the Council of Europe; a founding state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); and has taken a seat at the UN Security Council three times. 4
The Constitution of Bulgaria defines it as a secular state with guaranteed religious freedom, but designates Orthodoxy as a "traditional" religion . The currency is leva — Lev (BGN). In the North is the Danube plain, bordering with the Balkan Ridge Mountain. In the South is the Thracian Lowland, bordering with the Rila, Pirin and the Rhodopes Mountains. To the East is the 354 km Black sea coastline. The beautiful Arda river flows in the Rhodopa Mountain. One of the most impressive beauties of the river is a man’s creation and is called the Devil’s Bridge.
These rocks resemble fantastic human figures up to 200 meters high and form a strip of land that s 30 km long and 3 km wide. Amongst these rocks is situated the inaccessible Belograd5
Bulgaria is a cradle and crossroad of ancient civilizations. Thracians, Romans, Slavs and Bulgars have left their mark in the past on the culture of Bulgaria contributing to a heritage that combines long history, fine literature and unique folklore. Bulgaria is the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet, which was developed in Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools during the tenth century. More than 200 million people from different countries today use the developed version of the Cyrillic alphabet, which by 1 January 2007 become European Union official alphabet.
St. Cyril and St. Methodius
SOFIA - The capital city With just under one million inhabitants, Sofia is a city with many facets of western Bulgaria. In addition to historical monuments and romantic places welcoming cafe offers animated streets and, not least the architectural splendor of the communist regime. Sophia was already in times past, a road hub of European traders, and this position has kept it at present. Sofia is among the oldest cities in Europe, for which there is no surprise that boasts numerous historical monuments. In the center stands the church, the Alexander Nevsky, which is actually the largest building of its kind in the Balkans. The oldest Orthodox church in town is the church of St. Sophia, patron saint of the city, which dates from the mid-sixth century. In addition to countless churches, Sofia also boasts with a variety of museums, most diverse. The best known is undoubtedly the National Museum of History in Sofia suburb, Boyan. Pride of the town's largest parks is, who really are here in abundance. The best known is undoubtedly the city park, Sofia City Garden. The place is loved by locals and attracts many tourists to relax in dozens of cafes and cozy corners with small fountains. The largest park of Sofia is Freedom Park, where they are located: a skating rink, a zoo and three sports stadiums. Sofia is a city with many facets of western Bulgaria. In addition to historical monuments and romantic places welcoming cafe offers animated streets and, 7
Other cities Plovdiv ranks second among the biggest cities in Bulgaria with 338,153 people living in its center. It is located on either side of the Maritsa River. The city has been continuously inhabited since 4000 BC. Today, Plovdiv is an important economic, educational, and cultural center. The economy of this city is based on tobacco production, food processing, textiles and brewing. It is home to a number of state colleges and private colleges as well as 6 universities. Additionally, Plovdiv holds various cultural festivals including the International Fair, the International Theatrical Festival, and the Golden Chest TV Festival. Visitors to this city can visit ancient Roman ruins, Old Orthodox-style churches, mosques, and temples. Varna is the third most populated Bulgarian city with a population of 334,870 in an area of 59.5 square miles. It is also the countryâ€™s largest seaside resort located along the Black Sea coast. Due to its location, Varna is one of the most popular tourist destinations and port cities in Bulgaria. In fact, 61% of its net income is derived from tourism and trade. The Bulgarian Navy is stationed here as well. Aside from spending all day at the beach, tourists to this city can also visit the Varna Archaeological Museum which hosts the Varna Gold, the worldâ€™s oldest gold jewelry dating back to between 4200 and 4600 8
Burgas has a population of 200,271 and is located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the Burgas Bay. It ranks fourth among the biggest cities in Bulgaria. Its location makes the fishing industry an important part of the economy. Although, the biggest economic contributor is the LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas oil refinery, which is the largest in southeastern Europe. Not only is the city an important economic and industrial center, but also a tourist and cultural center. This city is home to several museums, archaeological ruins, churches, and monasteries.
Ruse is number 5 on the list and has a population of 149,642. It is located along the Danube River, making Ruse the most important river port in Bulgaria. Under Roman rule, it was a military and naval hub. Today, the economy is based on textiles, tailoring, and food processing. Because of its unique neo-Baroque and neo-Rococo architecture, Ruse is a popular tourist destination as well.
Little history of Sofia Sofia is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, first known as the Thracian city of Serdica, named after the Thracian tribe Serdi. The Odrysi tribe, an ethnos with its own kingdom, settled in the region around 500 BC. The city was conquered by Philip of Macedon and remained under Macedonian rule briefly during the 4th Century BC, later passing under the rule of the Philip's son, Alexander the Great. The Romans conquered Sofia around AD 29 and renamed it Ulpia Serdica, established as an administrative centre during the reign of Emperor Trajan. The city expanded, as fortifications, towers, public baths, administrative buildings, as well as a basilica and a large amphitheatre, sprung up. The Roman Emperor Diocletian divided the province of Dacia, which corresponded to present-day Romania and Moldova, into Dacia Mediterranea and Dacia Ripensis. Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. Over the next 150 years the city continued to grow and flourish, to the extent that Roman Emperor Constantine I began to call it â€˜my Romeâ€™. Serdica boasted a magnificent urban design and an active social life. The ancient city flourished under the rule of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. However, the Huns ravaged the city in AD 447, but later, Justinian rebuilt it and named it Triaditsa, which remained under Byzantine rule until AD 809, although Slavic tribes often pil10
In AD 809, Sredets was integrated into the Bulgarian Empire under Khan Krum, which developed as an important military base and administrative centre. However it was captured by Byzantium in 1018, and also suffered a Magyar (Hungarian tribe) raid in 1128. By the end of the 12th Century, Sredets became part of the restored Bulgarian Empire under Tsar Ivan Asen I, serving as a thriving trade and craft centre in the early Middle Ages. It was renamed Sofia (Greek for ‘wisdom’) in 1376, taking its name from the Church of St Sophia, today an important landmark and the second-oldest church in the city.The city was referred to as both Sofia and Sredets until the 1500s, when the name ‘Sofia’ became dominant. Sofia was widely renowned for its talented goldsmiths, and its burgeoning economy was aided by the wealth of mineral resources in the surrounding mountains. A large number of gold treasures have been excavated in the area of Sofia which date from the Middle Ages, as well as from ancient times. In 1382, the Ottomans conquered Sofia. A revolt against this Turkish rule took place in the city in 1443, led by Transylvanian warlord Ivan Hunyadi and Vladislav III of Varna. This unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Turks led to severe persecution of Sofians. At this time, Sofia’s population was predominantly Bulgarian, and after the conquest, Muslims gradually began to arrive and settle in the city. In 1444, Sofia became the seat of the Ottoman governor of Rumelia Province and remained the centre of the region until the 1700s. 11
Many of the city’s Ottoman buildings date from the 1700s. According to 16th-century tax registers, the Muslim population rose dramatically, from 915 Muslim and 317 Christian households in 1524-25 to 1,017 Muslim and 257 Christian households in 1573, parallel with a demographic boom. The city then gained an oriental character during this period of Turkish yoke. In 1878, Russian forces liberated Sofia from Turkish yoke, a result of the RussianTurkish War, when Bulgarians referred to Russians as ‘liberator brothers’. Sofia became the capital of Bulgaria in 1879. Since then, until 1939, the city’s inhabitants increased from 20,000 to 300,000.In 1925, renegades blew up the roof of St Nedelya Church (Nevski), killing 150 and seriously injuring 500. Sofia was bombed by Allies during the Second World War, as Bulgaria supported Germany in the war. After the war, the Soviet Union overthrew the pro-Nazi government of Sofia and occupied the city. Sofia became the capital of Communist Bulgaria until 1989.
Traditions and crafts Bulgarian pottery makers are still famous and their works are worthwhile souvenirs. In the past, Troyan, Gabrovo, Teteven were renowned centers of pottery making. Etching, or drawing straight lines on pottery items, was common, and later multicolored patterns spread on pots, jugs etc. produced by Bulgarian potters. Nowadays applications also contribute to the decoration of pottery items.
Icon painting was an art which had its numerous followers. It derived its roots from the adoption of Christian faith in Bulgaria in the ninth and tenth centuries.
Continuing throughout centuries, it evolved into a tradition which reached its peaks during the second Bulgarian Kingdom. Initially characterized by asceticism, Bulgarian icons started to become truer to life, with fuller faces and landscapes forming the backgrounds. Heavy crowns and baroque thrones were introduced, and the colors became more vivid and brighter. Towns like Tryavna, Bansko, Samokov were important centers of icon painting. Weaving and carpet making are also traditional Bulgarian crafts which are also true arts. Bulgarian women were skilled weavers who created their own patterns and color combinations. Carpet making has a long history in the country, dating as far ago as the ninth century. The major centers of carpet making in towns such as Kotel and Chiprovtsi are still famed for that craft. People who look at the carpets produced in these two towns will notice that Kotel carpets are characterized by large patterns, whereas those of Chiprovtsi are smaller. Rugs woven in the Rhodope mountain are another area of art and craft blended, with long fringes colored in white, yellow and brown. Woodworking went along with the making of staple items of furniture and utensils to decorate them and make them more attractive. Even shepherdsâ€™ pipes were enticingly decorated. The chests in Bulgarian homes, kidsâ€™ cradles, cribs and cots were decorated with patterns involving leaves, flowers, and although men created them, 13
Wooden spoons, stools, and diverse musical instruments, all featured carved patterns which made each wooden item a work of art. The Tryavna school, in the small town of Tryavna in the folds of the Balkan Range, has invariably been the hub of woodcarving. Bulgarian embroidery is characterized by the ample use of geometrical shapes. They are arranged along hemlines, necklines, on tablecloths, table runners, to form continuous lines of colors which add lots of rainbow hues to white shirts and cloths which decorate the home. Plants are omnipresent in Bulgarian embroidery, as nature has always surrounded Bulgarian households and been a mighty source of inspiration. Crafts and arts in Bulgaria have been linked with smithery. Coppersmithery produced cauldrons, coffee pots, diverse dishes, were carefully shaped and decorated. Whereas in copper items objects for everyday use were produced and decorated to let beauty into everyday life, goldsmithery was dedicated entirely to decorating. Goldsmiths relied on the traditions observed by ancient Thracians and developed in the centuries, and added plant elements and geometrical shapes.
Sofia is a modern metropolis with an exceptional wealth of history. Roman remains, incredible religious architecture and a dramatic mountain backdrop make this alluring Eastern European city an essential destination ... Standing above the subterranean Roman antiquities, Sofia has a whole host of other beautiful buildings, including the National Archeological Museum and the National Art Gallery.
Completely unique is the Square of Tolerance, where in area of less than 300 metres, you can see temples of four of the world’s major religions. The 16th century Banya Bashia Mosque, the Sofia Synagogue – the second largest Sephardic (SpanishJewish) synagogue in Europe, St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral and the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nedelya. Less ostentatious is St. Sofia Church, built in Byzantine style. It was constructed on the site of several earlier places of worship dating back to the days when this area was the necropolis of the Roman town of Serdica. In the 14th century, the church gave its name to the city, which became known thereafter as Sofia. In the 16th century, during Ottoman rule, St. Sofia Church was converted into a mosque. The original 12th century frescoes were destroyed and minarets were added. However, in the 19th century, two earthquakes destroyed one of the minarets and the mosque was abandoned. Another essential landmark of Sofia’s religious heritage is the Church of St George. Built by the Roman’s in the 4th century this red brick rotunda is one of the oldest buildings in Sofia. The city’s prize for grandeur must surely go to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which was built in 1912. This huge basilica is topped with five cupolas and an open bell tower reaching 53 metres in height. The cathedral crypt contains a museum of religious icons, said to be the largest collection of Orthodox icons in Europe. If you arrived in Sofia by plane you would have added St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to your sightseeing list, as you would have seen its golden domes shining like beacons in the sun. Take time to walk around the exterior, listen to the song of the bells, and once you have appreciated the cathedral’s rich and impressive beauty, you can enter and take your time enjoying its in15
For first-time visitors, the open market in front of the cathedral is a delightful experience with stalls of antiques, paintings and local souvenirs lining the pavement. For a truly unique souvenir, Sofia offers some of the most fragrant gifts in the world. This dizzying experience is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the history of Bulgarian fragrances. The rose shops line the most elite pedestrianised boulevard of the city, which carries the name of the mountain that commands the horizon. The snow capped Vitosha Mountain Massif is easily accessible by car in about 45 minutes and provides another unique attraction in the Bulgarian capital. There’s a spectacular cable car ride up the mountain, where you’ll enjoy gently rising up through lush green forest. In winter, visitors can ski on the slopes; in summer you can enjoy a relaxing, peaceful walk – it could be for an hour or for six hours – it depends on how long you want to indulge in nature’s pure delights. One of the highlights of a visit to Vitosha Mountain is the UNESCO site of Boyana Church, a small ancient chapel, full of beauty and rich in history. It was built in three stages: in the late 10th to early 11th, the mid-13th, and the mid-19th centuries. A total of 89 scenes with 240 human images are depicted on the walls of this delightful church. The Bulgarian capital offers a diversity of culture, shopping, history, events, sightseeing and local cuisine for all visitors. You just have to visit once to appreciate the uniqueness and 16
Local gastronomy Banitza - This traditional Bulgarian pastry is something you’ll find across the country at bakeries, coffee shops, canteens and bus stations. It’s buttery, cheesy, goodness is highly addictive. This snack (that goes very well with coffee) is prepared by stacking up layers of filo pastry dough – or fini kori as the Bulgarians call it, with butter and traditional Bulgarian cheese before it is baked. If you’re on a diet, you’ll definitely overshoot your calorie limit with a couple of Banitza, but it’s worth it. The shkembe is a traditional Bulgarian soup made from tripe. If you look at a Bulgarian cookbook, chances are ‘Shkembe’ will be one of the first recipes you come across. For the uninitiated, tripe is, of course, the thick stomach lining found in the bellies of cattle. This traditional recipe is made by boiling cut or minced tripe for several hours with paprika, milk, and oil. Apparently, the more the paprika the better the shkembe. Little known fact: The shkembe isn’t just a traditional soup, it also doubles as a post-drinking snack to settle the stomach, and is a great hangover cure. Sirene —This Bulgarian white cheese is a variety of the feta cheese, and Bulgaria is the only country that produces it.
Shopska Salata is what newlyweds sit down and eat as their first meal together after the ceremonies. The recipe may seem simple, with just a few fresh cut vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and peppers as ingredients. Tarator: Cool Cucumber Soup â€” A summer refresher for the Bulgarians, Taratov is always go-to at the start of any meal. Legend has it that the recipe for the soup was stolen from the Greeks and appropriated by Bulgarians after adding a little water. This fantabulous soup contains cucumber, yoghurt, garlic, dill, and water. Hardcore meat lovers may prefer the Bulgarian beef soup, Teleshkov Vareno, but Tarator is always a classic. The Bulgarian Gyuvech is a great tribute to slowfood culture worldwide. The dish shares its name with the traditional Bulgarian crockery pot. These pots are found in every Bulgarian home and often passed down through families over generations or gifted to couples at their weddings. A Gyuvech is a stew that contains beef, mushrooms, peppers and onions. The stew is cooked and then baked after some traditional Kashkaval (Bulgarian yellow cheese) is grated over it. A good Gyuvech will have cooked eggs and a 18
What you have to see in Sofia Alexander Nevski Cathedral One of the symbols of Sofia, this magnificent cathedral was built after the Liberation of Bulgaria. Its domes are covered in gold, and the sound of its bells can be heard as far as 7.5 miles (12 km) away. There is an icon museum where you can see some fine examples of the Bulgarian Orthodox Christian art. The Saint Sophia Basilicaâ€™s catacombs When this ancient basilica gave the name of the city, it was outside of the city limits, on a nearby hill. Nowadays, it functions as a church on the street level, but you can head down to its catacombs where hundreds of ancient graves were found. Stroll the pedestrian Vitosha Boulevard This boulevard is the heart of the city, full of cafĂŠs, restaurants, and high-end shops. A great spot to see street artists, 19
Join the party in Borisova Garden or the South Park Sofia has a vibrant park life â€“ from the first warm days of spring, all parks and public gardens in the capital are full of students, families, and elderly people, all enjoying the sun in their own way. Some of the best green spots are Borisova Garden and the South Park, where you might also happen across live performances or festivals. Visit the Sofia History Museum Located in the building of the old public mineral baths, this museum will rather interactively immerse you into Sofiaâ€™s past. You can sit on an old tram or see the golden royal carriage of Ferdinand I, a present from Marie Antoinette.
Visit the Square of Religious Tolerance Sofia is said to be the only European city to have places of worship for four different religions situated within a block of each other. The so-called Square of Religious Tolerancecomprises St. Nedelya Orthodox Church, Banya Bashi 20
What you can do in Sofia One can hardly have a tedious time in Sofia. With its abundance of concert halls, art galleries, fashionable clubs and cafes, restaurants, disco and underground clubs, the prevailing part of which are opened until late at night, or in the night, the capital provides various amusements and adventures suitable for anybody’s taste or manner. Urbane social circles residing locally are not strangers to a casual code but, as a rule, the artistic life in Sofia pleases the foreigners for its greater liberty of exchange and easiness of manners than it is possible, for instance, in Western Europe, or the USA. The connoisseurs of classical music should not fail attending Sofia’s music stage, with its programme full of excellent performances by Bulgarian and foreign musicians. Unforgettable concerts are often held at Bulgaria Hall, in the main hall of the Sofia City Art Gallery, or in the ballroom of the Military Club. Sofia’s Opera and Ballet is housed in a hall considered by world famous directors one of the few halls of perfect acoustics at all. In its centennial history Sofia’s opera school has yielded some of the greatest voices on the world stage. 21
Usually the international hit or cult movies are distributed in Sofia speedily and sometimes – even before they reach Paris, or Brussels. The central picture palaces in Sofia are Arena Zapad, Arena Mladost, Cinema City in the Mall of Sofia, Cineplex in the Sofia City Center, Odeon Film-Library Cinema, Lumierre, Cinema House, Euro Cinema (two halls) in the Euro -Bulgarian Cultural Center. The stages of dozens of metropolitan theatres will give you an opportunity to encounter the best of Bulgarian drama repertoire. Besides affording opportunities for spiritual and artistic delight, Sofia provides also good conditions for all kinds of sports – at open air and in special gym halls alike. Perhaps, sporting in Mount Vitosha is the most tentative: skiing, mountain biking and cycling, paintball, or merely trekking; however, the games of billiard, bowling or darts in the city bear a great deal of amusement, too.When night is falling on Sofia, Mount Vitosha turns into an enchanting silhouette reminiscent to Sofia citizens of a range of exciting images in the Bulgarian literature. The magical show of Sofia by night affords to you amazing abundance of tempting opportunities and roles. If during the day the city is bright and kaleidoscopic, the night makes it fanciful, even at least due to its nicely lighted historical buildings lending to it the appearance of a theatrical stage-setting. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Sofia by night doesn’t defer to the big European capitals on its capacity to propose tourist attractions and amusements of quality, and they are often unexpected and marked by bohemian flair. 22
If somebody is suspicious he will be maybe surprised to learn of the extravagant opportunity to go skiing at night until 10 pm on Vitosha, at a 30–40 minute drive from downtown Sofia. As for the eating-places and clubs in the outskirts of Mount Vitosha, they will entertain you until daybreak, along with the unique sight of the city’s lights from high above…
But if you are indeed willing to dance or sing the burden, then the elite metropolitan disco clubs are the right choice for you; nowadays they are regularly visited by world famous DJs. The nightclubs at the Studentski Grad Quarter would be a real fun to adventurers. There are also underground clubs in Sofia with artistic customers addicted to this or that of the contemporary music styles: house, techno, gothic, cool, and whatever else… Especially popular in Sofia is jazz: in a couple of cult jazz clubs one can often listen to live performances at a global level for a modest entrance fee.
General presentation of the country Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in centralwestern Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres, and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany's capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr (main centres: Dortmund and Essen). The country's other major cities are Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, DĂźsseldorf, Leipzig, Bremen, Dresden, Hannover and Nuremberg. In the 21st century, Germany has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP, as well as the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled and productive society. It upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection and a tuition-free university education.
The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993.
By size, Germany is the seventh-largest European country and from north to south the topography varies quite dramatically. The North European Plain extends across the northern reaches of the country; this flat, lowland terrain is dissected by numerous bogs, rivers and streams, and is mostly used as farmland. The North Sea coastline is low, marshy wet land, with dikes, mudflats and scattered islands. The Baltic Sea is hillier with some jagged cliffs. Rugen, Germany's largest island, is forested and rather hilly with steep cliffs and sandy beaches.In the northeast, and then stretching to the south of Berlin, Germany's land remains sandy and punctuated by dozens of mostly small lakes formed by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age. The land then rises into the forested uplands of central Germany. Major landforms here include the volcanic in origin Harz Mountains and the thickly wooded Rothaargebirge Mountains. Further south the rounded hills and mountains of the Eifel and Huynsruck uplands front the Rhine River Valley. Moving eastward through Germany, the Vogelsberg Mountains, Rhon Plateau (or Mts.) and Thuringian Forest are the dominate features. The uplands continue east27
The Bohemian Forestcovers a lower mountain range along the Czech Republic border, and along the country's far-southwestern border with the Rhine River and France stands the thick (story-book famous) Black Forest. The Bavarian Alps, the highest mountains in Germany stretch across its southern border with Austria. Snow covered Zugspitze, Germany's highest point is found here. Stretched along the northern coastline, the Frisian Islands, East and North are separated from the mainland by the Waddenmeer. These barrier islands provide a small level of protection from the North Sea. The country is drained by dozens of rivers. The longest river in Germany is the Rhine. Rising in the Alps of Switzerland, it's overall length runs (820 miles) (1,319 km), and along it path numerous tributaries and branches stretch in all directions. Another river of note is the Danube, which rises in the Black Forest to then stretch across central Europe all the way to the Black Sea. Additional rivers of size include the Elbe, Ems, Havel, Isr, Lahn, Lech, Main, Moselle, Oder, Spree and Weser.The largest lakes include Chiemsee and Muritz, and Lake Constance along the Swiss border in the south. Across Germany a large series of man-made canals join navigable rivers, creating thousands of miles of interconnecting inland waterways. They're used for commercial and local traffic.
Some historical information
Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire.
During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. The remains of the Holy Roman Empire formed the German Confederation in 1815, while the german revolutions of 1848-49 established major democratic rights first. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states were unified into the Prussiandominated German - Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918-19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. In 1933 the Nazi seizure of power quickly led to the establishment of Nazi Germany which was built upon a dictatorship and consequently led to World War II and the Holocaust. After the end of WWII in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded: the democratic Federal Republic of Germany (commonly known as West Germany) and the socialist German Democratic Republic (commonly known as East Germany). A wall encircling West Berlin was created on August 13, 1961, and was torn down on November 9, 1989. On 3 October 1990, the country was reunified.
BERLIN - The capital city Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its 16 constituent states. With a steadily growing population of approximately 3.7 million, Berlin is the second 29
Located in northeastern Germany on the banks of the rivers Spree and Havel, it is the centre of the BerlinBrandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has roughly 6 million residents from more than 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals and lakes. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media and science.Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination.Significant industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics. Modern Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras, museums, and entertainment venues, and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts 30
Other cities Rostock is the largest city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is located on the Warnow river. The popular district of WarnemĂźnde 12 km north of the city centre is directly on the Baltic Sea. Rostock is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Rostock, founded in 1419 For many people Rostock is not only an ideal travel destination, but also a city that combines holidays with living. However, Rostock has much more to offer than just its maritime flair. As the largest city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and a site of economic activity with strong businesses, Rostock is an attractive place to work and is also family-friendly. With many recreational opportunities for children and adults alike. Rostock knows how to charm. Numerous museums, theatres and events attract culture enthusiasts to come and relax. Those who fancy a stroll around town will find what they are looking for in the city centre and in WarnemĂźnde as well. Frankfurt am Main is one of GermanyÂ´s biggest cities. With 730.000 inhabitants it is in the fifth place of the largest cities in Germany. In addition to London, Frankfurt is a banking center in Europe. Although it is a very modern city, Frankfurt has a long history. It was founded in the 8th century. Since then Frankfurt has often been the meeting place for important politicians. It even became almost the capital of Germany. Nowadays Frankfurt is the economic center of Germany and contributes a great deal to the economic
Hamburg, Germany's second largest city is also our "harbour to the world". Although the harbour on the river Elbe is about 110 km inland from the North Sea, Hamburg's harbour is influenced by the tides.The harbour is one of the biggest attractions in Hamburg. The old store house district (Speicherstadt), the Reeperbahn (red light district) and the Binnenalster are famous places to visit. Munich - MĂźnchen - Bavaria. Well-known for the "HofbrĂ¤uhaus" and the "Oktoberfest" around the world, Munich is a popular tourist destination. Most highlights of Munich are within the old city centre, between the Karlstor and Isartor. The "Frauenkirche" is the best known sight. Munich's heart is the Marienplatz with the new townhall in neo-gothic style.
Stuttgar Baden-WĂźrttemberg. The Swabian metropolis is home of Daimler and Porsche, and a major industrial egion. However, Stuttgart's location in Neckar valley, surrounded by hills, vineyards and forests, gives the city a green and lush appearance. Stuttgart offers a lot of charme to
its visitors. Schlossplatz with the new palace is the central meeting place in Stuttgart, while the Königstrasse (King Street) is a long pedestrian mall and shopping paradise.
Little history of Sanitz Sanitz is a municipality in the Rostock district, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Germany. It is located approximately 15 km east of Rostock and has an area of 82,36km2 and a population of 5749. Sanitz is mentioned in the sources in 1256 when it wa s ca lle d K irch do rf .The me nt ion in vo lve d the church at Dänschenburg which was described as a daughter church of Sanitz. A subsequent mention occurs in an agreement of 2 June 1291 involving Henry I of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, at the time the local Bishop, who granted the lordship of the Rostock region to his ward Nicholas whose own heirs would retain these privileges. In the fourteenth century Sanitz is recorded as having been held by a succession of vassals such as Bernard Kopmann from Rostock, the knight Siegfried of Plön, Reimar von Wedel, the Rostock council member Dietrich Horn, along with his son, the major Dippold Horn. 33
After this the village was inherited by the Cistercian monastery at Doberan who held it until the Reformation. In 1552 the monastery fell victim to a programme of Secularization in the area and the village was transferred as a ducal domain to Robnitz and thereafter leased out to various land owning families. In 1879 the village passed into the control of nearby Toitenwinkel. The flag of the local community has regularly vertical strips of green, white and green. In the middle oft he flag ist he coat of arms. It has an golden rod accompanied with three silver appleblossoms with three golden vessels. And on down below there is an golden rabbit. According to source the crozier is symbolizing the fact, that the village belonged to the domains of Doberan monastery. The hare is canting ("Sanitz" is derived from an Old-Slavic word for "hare"). The blossoms are alluding to the orchards on the municipality's territory.
Traditions and crafts Many old German traditions still thrive today, lovingly preserved by artisanal craftsmen and small producers, and passed on from generation to generation. Traditions like these often blur the distinction between art and craft. As you watch traditional craftsmen at work, you'll be amazed at how modern old skills can be. 34
Wicker beach chairs â€” Rostock-based basketmaker to the royal court, Wilhelm Bartelmann, is said to have invented the wicker beach chair in the 19th century. These distinctive recliners have hardly changed since and are still made by hand to this day. Seen on nearly every beach on Germany's North Sea and Baltic coastlines, the chairs offer comfort and shelter from the sun and wind. Slightly less comfortable, but great fun nonetheless, is the tradition of beach-chair racing, which takes place in Zinnowitz on the Baltic island of Usedom during the winter beach chair festival. Teams of two carry the chairs, which weigh 60 kilos a piece, 20 metres to the finishing line of the track. Lauscha. The birthplace of Christmas baubles. Thuringia is responsible for a number of festive traditions, including the glass decorations that we hang on Christmas trees. Over 160 years ago, glassblowers in the small town of Lauscha began making beaded garlands, fruits and pine cones to decorate their trees at home. Their creations came to be famed the world over, and the ancient tradition of glassblowing is still practised in Thuringia today. All year round, visitors to Lauscha can see glassware being made in the FarbglashĂźtte glassworks and numerous glass workshops, or stock up on decorations in factory shops. Heavenly figures. GrĂźnhainichen angels. Christmas without angels would be unthink35
able. At the traditional manufacturer Wendt & Kühn in Grünhainichen, you can meet the world-famous angel all year round. Whether she's playing music or sitting on the moon, a comet or a star, her green wings always have exactly eleven white spots. This family owned firm was founded in 1915 by Grete Wendt and Grete Kühn. The figurines are still produced in Grünhainichen today, crafted by hand to the highest standards. Handmade lederhosen. Lederhosen are often seen as Germany's national dress, but they are actually only worn in Bavaria – where locals wear them with pride. Lederhosen are as popular today as they've ever been, especially on festive occasions such as Munich's Oktoberfest. To complete the look you need the sidelaced haferlschuhshoes, the traditional regional shirt known as a trachtenhemd and the distinctive round-collared trachtenjanker jacket. For ladies there's the equally traditional dirndl dress. In Berchtesgaden, Engelbert Aigner still makes high-quality lederhosen by hand. Up to two deerskins and around 25 hours' work go into each pair, depending on the intricacy of the embroidery. KPM Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin. One of the world's most famous porcelain manufacturers, the KPM Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin has been producing 'white gold' for 250 years. At KPM-Welt in Berlin, you can see this prestigious craft being practised in the workshops and then buy the 36
Cultural life Rostock: brick-Gothic architecture with a maritime flair. The harbour is the heart of the maritime city of Rostock. Although there may be fewer sailors on the quayside these days, the harbour still shapes the character of the city. It is also the venue for major events, such as the Hanse Sail in August, which attracts hundreds of sailing ships and a million visitors each year. During Hanse Sail, up to 300 tall ships, sloops, cruise ships, ferries, museum schooners, vintage yachts and other sea-going vessels are paraded in front of delighted spectators in and around Rostock's harbour. This maritime festival is a special occasion for the entire Baltic region, a celebration of friendship between nations featuring music performed on a number of stages, two fireworks displays, a medieval fair, a Ferris wheel and plenty more entertainment spread out along nearly four kilometres. All of this takes place against the magnificent backdrop of Rostock's old quarter with its characteristic deep-red brick buildings dating from Hanseatic times. These include the city fortifications, parts of which have been preserved, including a section built by General Wallenstein during the Thirty Years' War. The eastern part of the old quarter contains a long stretch of wall near St. Peter's Church, and close by you can still see part of the Fishermen's Bastion with some historical canons. Inside the city walls, three of the original four monumental town churches still remain.
The largest is the Gothic St. Mary's Church in the centre, while St. Peter's on Alter Markt square is located in the oldest part of Rostock. Its tower offers stunning views across the town and the Baltic Sea. Other notable buildings include the Gothic town hall with its baroque-period exterior, the late-Gothic Hausbaumhaus merchant's house and the neo-Gothic guildhall. A particularly endearing landmark is the old lighthouse in Warnemünde, an ideal destination for an excursion.
The traditional seaside resort of Warnemünde with its pretty, colourful fishermen's cottages is a quiet and relaxing place. It's a great place to explore the little stores, cafés and restaurants as well as the Alter Strom, an old arm of the river Warnow that exudes maritime charm with its fishing and sailing boats bobbing on the water. Despite all the history and the pride it takes in its grand seafaring heritage, Rostock is also a modern city. It has some remarkable examples of GDR and contemporary architecture, such as Lange Strasse, which was rebuilt in the late 1950s under the direction of the town's young chief architect Joachim Näther and the experimental Hyparschalen buildings created between 1966 and 1972, which still stand out today. They include the Teepott restaurant in Warnemünde, the Kosmos office building in the Südstadt district and the multipurpose hall (now a shopping centre) in the Lütten Klein district. At the end of the 1990s, architects Gerkan, Mang and Partner built a chic shopping mall behind the facade of a former hotel. And while we're on the subject, Rostock is a great place for shopping.
Distinctive pedestrian zones such as Kröpeliner Strasse have been established between Doberaner Platz square, Neuer Markt, Universitätsplatz square and the city harbour. This area is also great for eating out, offering everything from fresh fish to international cuisine, while those with a sweet tooth should make sure to pay a visit to the chocolatier de Prie at the harbour. The Kröpeliner Tor district with its pubs and clubs also has friendly restaurants, bars and cafés offering delicious food and refreshing beer. It's always worth taking a closer look either side of the main streets, where small shops and pubs in old warehouses and lovingly restored town houses are just waiting to be discovered. And what you will always find is the soul and charm of this extraordinary city.
Local gastronomy Mecklenburg cuisine is typically northeast German. Many dishes in the region today, whilst retaining their original characteristics, frequently add new facets, whilst old dishes are being rediscovered and combined with current recipes. Mecklenburg food has traditionally been considered as rather down-to-earth and hearty. It reflects, on the one hand, the simple life of the region of Mecklenburg, long dominated by agriculture, and on the other hand, its long Baltic coastline and the abun39
In addition, its vast forests produce a wealth of game. Potatoes, known locally as TĂźften, play a particularly important role in the region also, as evinced by the existence of a potato museum (the Vorpommersches Kartoffelmuseum) in neighbouring West Pomerania), and a variety of cooking methods are used to prepare them. Other staples are kale, known as GrĂźnkohl and a sweet-and-sour flavour produced, for example, by using dried fruit. Heaven and Earth (Himmel und Erde) is a dish made from potatoes, apple sauce, and bacon. In the Rhineland, it accompanies Blutwurst. In Mecklenburg, is is made with pureed pairs instead of apple sauce. Fresh fish from the Baltic Sea and the lakes. With almost 2,000 kilometres of coastline and more than 2,000 lakes, fish is rarely off the menu in the restaurants of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Or try it fresh off the boat, or freshly smoked, in a fish roll, or even caught yourself. However you eat it, fish from the sea or lake is a healthy addition to your diet. Try it fried, smoked, pickled or baked in Bierteig, a beerbased pastry. At the height of the Hanseatic era, the herring was one of the most important trading commodities. The fish is still celebrated and eaten throughout the region today during 40
Orange-coloured superberries from the coast of Rügen island. The orange-coloured berries on the thorny hippophae bushes are typical of the coastal vegetation here. They contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits and are one of the most important indigenous sources of energy. Visitors like to take them home in the form of oil, drinks (such as tea and juice), sweets and jams, liqueurs and wines, and cosmetics. You can even visit one of Rügen's sea buckthorn plantations at harvest time.
What you have to see in the region In Warnemünde there is a Lighthouse. It was build in 1897 and it is 31 meter high. The Light from the Lighthouse shines 20 sea miles ( 37 km ) over the sea. In Warnemünde there are many other sights, z.B. the “Teepott. The “Teepott” is the emblem of Warnemünde. ”. In the “Teepott” thereis a Restaurant, Souvenirshop and some 8000 collected exhibits from Reinhold Kasten – one of the last great adventures and circumnavigator of the 20thcentury. Other sights are the West Pier. The West pier is 541 meter long. It extends far into the Baltic Sea. It serves as a protection and as a breakwater. At the end there is a small Lighthouse. From the pier you can well observe the incoming ships. 41
In Warnemünde’s harbour, the Alter Strom is a channel dug as long ago as 1423. For more than five centuries this was the main channel linking Rostock’s port with the Baltic, until the Neuer Strom was dredged in 1903. On the west side of the Alter Strom is a promenade edged with charming old fishermen’s houses that are now shops and restaurants. And on the quay there’s a continuous line of boats, some of which have been turned into floating snack bars. Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located of the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Its length from north to south is 32 miles (51 km), its maximum breadth 25 miles (40 km), and its area 358 square miles (926 square km). The coastline is irregular, as Rügen originally consisted of several separate islands that, in geologically recent times, have been joined by strips of land. Central Rostock’s pride and joy is the 13th-century Marienkirche, the only main Rostock church to survive WWII unscathed (although restorations are ongoing). Behind the main altar, the church’s 12m-high astrological clock was built in 1472 by Hans Düringer. At the very top of the clock is a series of doors. At noon and midnight the innermost right door opens and six of the 12 apostles march out to parade around Jesus (Judas is locked out). 42
Zodiac symbols and moon phases feature in the centre, while the lower section has a disc that tells the exact day on which Easter falls in any given year. The replaceable discs are accurate for 130 years – the current one expires in 2017, and a new one is ready. The clock is the only one of its kind in the world still with its original mechanisms. Also note the unusually tall, organically shaped baroque organ (1770).
What you can do in the region The region of Rostock can offer extensive and phenomenal recreational possibilities on or next to water, cultural landscapes, historical testimonies to architecture and much much more in our diverse countrysides. If you feel like coming down from the working day with a stroll along sandy beaches or finishing work by doing for a leisurely bit of shopping, spending a day of your weekend with the family in a wildlife park or opting to hit the town for a night out – you’ll be spoilt for choice here. Sports and Exercise. Access to the Baltic Sea, the lakes, and the rivers, in addition to the sublime landscapes with their exceptional network of paths and routes for cycling, walking, riding, and enjoying the water mean that you always have extensive possibilities to be active at your very doorstep in Rostock and the surrounding region. 43
Sailors, surfers, and kiters will all find one of Germany’s most beautiful and rewarding territories here. Furthermore, there is a vast range of sports facilities, clubs, and organisations in order to stay fit. Particular sporting highlights can be enjoyed with ‘Hansa Rostock’ football club, the ‘Seawolves’ and ‘EBC’ basketball organisations, the ‘HC Empor Rostock’ handballers, the ‘Piranhas’ ice hockey team, and the ‘Nasenbären’ inline hockey squad. Leisure Time and Excursion Tips. Taking a trip on the nostalgic ‘Molli’ steamtrain, seeing exotic animals before your very eyes at Rostock Zoo, or even spending a night among wolves at Güstrow Wildpark – these are but a few of the highlights the region offers for the young and old. Even in dreary unfavourable weather, you will find indoor playgrounds and swimming centres ready to accommodate you. Culture. The arts and cultural life and landscape in the region is unique, diverse, rich and full of lively music, literature, theatre, and museums – and it is easy to combine a love of culture here with the delights of nature and food. Furthermore, owing to the activities and programmes offered by the region’s music, art, and media schools, in addition to its adult education centres and city library, the region of Rostock has an incredibly rich arts and cultural education. 44
Shopping. Whoever enjoys shopping and dawdling around will be guaranteed to get their money’s worth in Rostock: large shopping and outlet centres can be accessed just as easily as car-free boulevards with cosy cafés in the city centre in addition to the exclusive boutiques in the baltic seaside resorts. Those looking for fresh and healthy food will strike rich at the numerous weekly markets. In the wintertime, Rostock is like a magnet for those from near and far, all of whom are drawn to North Germany’s delightful and biggest christmas market.
General presentation of the country Iceland (Ísland) is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 334.282 and an area of 103,000 km2, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Reykjavík is the most northen capital city in the world. Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries.It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, political, and social stability and equality. In 2016, it was ranked as the 9th most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and ranks first on the Global Peace Index.Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy. Iceland is at the juncture of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The main island is entirely south of the Arctic Circle, which passes through the small Icelandic island of Grímseyoff the main island's northern coast. The country lies between latitudes 63 and 68°N, 48
Iceland is closer to continental Europe than to mainland North America; thus, the island is generally included in Europe for historical, political, cultural, geographical, and practical reasons.The closest body of land is Greenland (290 km). The closest bodies of land in Europe are the Faroe Islands (420 km); Jan Mayen Island (570 km); Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, both about 740 km and the Scottish mainland and Orkney, both about 750 km. The mainland of Norway is about 970 km away. Iceland is the world's 18th largest island, and Europe's second-largest island after Great Britain. The main island is 101,826 km2, but the entire country is 103,000 km2 in size, of which 62.7% is tundra. About 30 minor islands are in Iceland, i n c lu d in g the l igh t l y p o p u la t e d Gr ím se y and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. Lakes and glaciers cover 14.3% of its surface; only 23% is vegetated. The largest lakes are Þórisvatn reservoir: 83–88 km2 and Þingvallavatn: 82 km2; o t h e r i m p o r t a n t l a k e s i n clude Lagarfljót and Mývatn. Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake, at 248 m (814 ft). Many fjords punctuate Iceland's 4,970-km-long coastline, which is also where most settlements are situated. The island's interior, the Highlands of Iceland, is a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains, and lava fields. The major towns are the capital city of Reykjavík, along with its outlying towns of Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, and Garðabær, nearby Reykjanesbær where the international airport is located, and the town of Akureyri in northern 49
Iceland. The island of Grímsey on the Arctic Circle contains the northernmost habitation of Iceland, whereas Kolbeinsey contains the northernmost point of Iceland. Iceland has three national parks: Vatnajökull National Park, Snæfellsjökull National Park, and Þingvellir National Park.The country is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection, having been ranked 13th in Yale University's Environmental Performance Index of 2012. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e. slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin. The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration to that Union, and came under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from that union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French revo50
took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944. Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest in Europe. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
REYKJAVIK - The capital city Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxa Bay. Its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 123,300 (and over 216,940 in the Capital Region, it is the heart of Iceland's cultural, economic and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, which, according to Ingólfur Arnarson, was established in AD 874. Until the 19th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew steadily over the next decades, as it transformed into a regional and later national centre 51
is among the cleanest, greenest, and safest cities in the world. The Reykjavík Capital Area is the country's largest and most populated city and currently home to 203.594 people, that's twothirds of the entire Icelandic population! Although it's one of the smallest capital cities in the world, it's still big enough to fit in six super-sized districts, with Reykjavík as the largest having a population of 118.814. Each district has its own elected council that governs the community and is responsible for the execution of legally determined projects.
Other cities Kópavogur is a city and Iceland's second largest municipality by population. It lies immediately south of Reykjavík and is part of the Capital Region. The name literally means seal pup bay. The town seal contains the profile of the church Kópavogskirkja with a seal pup underneath. Kópavogur is largely made up of residential areas, but has commercial areas and much industrial activity as well.
The tallest building in Iceland, the Smáratorg tower, is located in central Kópavogur. Kópavogur is also one of Iceland's most prominent sites for Icelandic urban legends about the huldufólk; it also features in this capacity in the 2010 film Sumarlandið, where the
elf-house in the Kópavogur municipality. Hafnarfjörður is a port town and municipality located on the southwest coast of Iceland, about 10 km south of Reykjavík. It is the third-most populous city in Iceland, after Reykjavík and Kópavogur. Hafnarfjörður has established local industry and a variety of urban activities, with annual festival events.The town is the site of an annual Viking festival, where Viking culture enthusiasts from around the world display reconstructions of Viking garb, handicraft, sword-fighting, etc. Tourists with a New Age mindset enjoy a guided tour of the habitats of elves and other hidden people in the town area. Hafnarfjörður is now arguably considered to be the rock n' roll capital of Iceland. Akureyri is a town in northern Iceland. It is Iceland's second largest urban area (after the Capital Region) and fourth largest municipality. Nicknamed the Capital of North Iceland, Akureyri is an important port and fishing centre. The area where Akureyri is located was settled in the 9th century but did not receive a municipal charter until 1786. Folk culture in general is more prevalent in Akureyri than in Reykjavík. During the 53
One example is the medieval festival held every summer at Gásir. The Akureyri International Music Festival, a concert series by bands, was held for the fourth time in 2009.The town has one of the largest libraries in the country. Keflavík, meaning Driftwood Bay, is a town in the Reykjanes region in southwest Iceland. As of 2016, its population when combined with the nearby town Njarðvík, is 15,129. In 1995 it merged with Njarðvík and Hafnir to form a municipality called Reykjanesbær with a population of 15,233. In Iceland, Keflavík was renowned as a rich source of musicians during the 1960s and 70s, and is therefore also known as bítlabærinn or "The Beatle Town".
Little history of Selfoss Selfoss is a town of about 7.218 people in South Iceland, by the banks of the river Ölfusa, one of the largest rivers in the country. Although "foss" means waterfall in Icelandic, there are no 54
It is a part of, and the seat, of the municipality of Árborg. The Icelandic Ring Road runs through the t o w n o n i t s w a y between Hveragerði and Hella. The town is a centre of commerce and small industries with a population of 6,934 (2016), making it the largest residential area in South Iceland. The town is located about 11 km inland from the southwestern coast of Iceland, and km from Reykjavík. It is the major town and the administrative seat of the Southern Region. The closest other towns are Eyrarbakki, Stokkseyri and Hveragerði. The town is a centre of commerce, farming, and small industries in South Iceland. Selfoss serves as the district's center for: administration, industry, commerce and other services. It is situated in the vicinity of some of the country's most popular tourist attractions. The town was settled by Þórir Ásason sometime after 1000; however, the Icelandic sagas mention that Ingólfur Arnarson was here during the winter of 873-74 under the Ingólfsfjall mountain, which is west of the Ölfusáriver. 55
In the summer of 1891, due to the lobbying of Tryggvi Gunnarsson, a member of the Alþing, the first suspension bridge was built over the Ölfusá. This was a major breakthrough in Icelandic infrastructure. The bridge made the town a logical centre for services for the surrounding agricultural region. The current bridge was built in 1945 after the original structure collapsed. In 1900 the town was home to only 40 inhabitants, but by 2011 the population had climbed to 6,500. In 1931 the dairy firm Mjólkurbú Flóamanna and general store Kaupfélag Árnesinga were established. These two companies were the main employers in the area for several decades. During World War II the British stationed troops at Selfoss to guard the strategic bridge. Today, with more efficient transportation, Selfoss benefits from its proximity to the Reykjavík area and is predicted to grow further in the coming years as businesses and residents relocate to the town because of lower property prices. This has also led to many relocating their homes from Reykjavík to the much 56
is the home of one of the largest colleges in the country, FSU Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands.
In early August, the town holds a festival called "Sumar á Selfossi", meaning "Summer in Selfoss". Selfoss is the town in which the former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer is buried. Local residents decorate their gardens with ribbons, coloured according to neighbourhood, and a fete is held on the public grassland behind the civic library. The fete involves the selling of homemade goods on small stalls, performances by musicians and magicians on a temporary stage, and in 2011, a "Strongest Man" competition was held, with video recording by Icelandic television channel Stöð 2. In the evening, the revelry continues with a large bonfire and free fireworks display.
Cultural life Thorrablót and Thorramatur In January and February, during the Nordic week of Thorri, Icelanders feast on what they call Thorramatur as a tribute to the old culture. Many go to a fiesta called Thorrablot where Thorramatur is often served as a buffet. Even in pre-Christian times, Thorrablot feast was celebrated in honour of Thor, the Nordic god of thunder. After Icelanders converted to Christianity the tradition got lost, but in the 19th century, it caught the interest of the Icelandic nation once again. Thorramatur consists of unusual culinary delicacies, mainly meat and fish products cured in a traditional manner. Most of the food is sour but the reason for that is that it was orignally made like that as a preservation method. Bónda og Konudagur /“husband’s and wife’s day” So your country only has one Valentine’s Day? Iceland does not make do with that! It made two more days to celebrate love. After all, who doesn’t like to celebrate?
Icelanders’ Husband’s Day is on the first day of the month of Thorri, which is an ancient Norse month. This year it was January 20th. The Wife’s Day is the last day of the month of Thorri and is a day to celebrate women. On Husband’s Day, it is the wife who treats her beloved husband with good food, gifts or something romantic and likewise, on Wife’s Day, it is
Bolludagur / “bun day” Bun Day is celebrated seven weeks before Easter in Iceland. On that day Icelanders eat as much as they can of cream-filled buns. Both homemade and found in all bakeries, these buns can have different kind of fillings and toppings. The most-known traditional bun is filled with whipped cream and jam and has chocolate on top. These days, children are still encouraged from the morning of bun day to smack their parents with wands they make from school and yell each time “bolla, bolla, bolla” (bun, bun, bun). For each spank, they get one bun… you can just imagine the encouragement. Þorláksmessa. Thorlaksmessa is celebrated the day before Christmas, December 23rd. That is because in Iceland, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th in the evening with a wonderful meal. However, on the 23rd, all houses smell of something completely different than wonderful – they fill the space with the odour of the fermented skate. Because of the smell, many Icelanders prefer not to have this meal at home and would rather go to a restaurant. This is the reason all of Reykjavik city stinks a bit on the 23rd of December. Verslunarmannahelgi / “bank holiday weekend”. This weekend has a long history in Iceland and seems to get bigger by the year — it is the first weekend in August ending with a bank holiday on Monday. While this holiday is dedicated to Icelandic merchants, all Icelanders celebrate it with them with a holiday with outdoor festivals throughout the country. The outdoor festivals involve camping, great live music, fireworks and enjoying time with friends and family. 59
called Þjóðhátið (the festival of a nation). If you find yourself in Iceland during this weekend, you might want to look up which event is near you. There is usually something for everyone, even kid-friendly festivals and sporting events for teenagers. If you still feel like a big kid and want to play sports, do not worry as you can indulge yourself with the swamp soccer festival in Isafjordur. While Icelandic hand knit woolens are one of the most familiar products that people bring back from a visit to Iceland, vibrant arts and crafts can be found from a wide range of materials.Iceland has a rich knitting tradition and today knitting is still an intrinsic part of the Icelandic culture. When it comes to knitting, it doesn´t matter whom you speak to, he or she will always have something interesting to tell you about knitting. Chances are that the person is a knitter him- or herself since knitting is intensely popular among the general public.
Local gastronomy Hangikjöt (Smoked Lamb) is smoked Icelandic lambs. It is reputed to be especially good because of how the sheep are farmed, which is quite old fashioned: they are free to roam around the wilderness of the unspoiled and rather barren highlands all summer long without any supervision at all. 60
The sheep graze not only on grass, but also on plants and herbs which contributes to their rich and complex flavour. In this way, the meat has been marinated the entire life of the animal. After the slaughter, the farmer smokes the lamb traditionally fueling the fire with birch or dried sheep dung â€“ each of which adds its own distinctive flavour. Smoked lamb is usually served up with potatoes, bĂŠchamel sauce, red beets and green peas. Skyr. The famous not-actually-a-yoghurt-but-nobody-cares product, skyr, is technically a type of soft cheese, made from gelatinous milk curds. As appetizing as that sounds, mixed with milk and served with sugar or Icelandic blueberries, it's actually quite wonderful, with a rich, yoghurt-like texture and slightly sour taste. The real magic, however, is in its nutritional value. This superfood is incredibly high in protein and unbelievably low in everything else, a typical batch sporting something like 12% protein, 3% carbohydrate and 0,5% fat, and also rich in calcium and various vitamins. Icelandic fish (All the fish) In addition to the wide variety unbelievably fresh fish available, there are two types of interesting traditional Icelandic fish worth noting: Saltfiskur (Bacalao): Saltfiskur, literally salt-fish, has been dried and salted. It has a history in scandinavia of more than 500 years, and used to be a major export before refrigeration was a
Recently however, it has experienced a revival in some Icelandic restaurants. Harðfiskur (Stockfish): The simplest way to explain harðfiskur is that it is like beef jerky. Only fish. So fish jerky. It is dried out in the cold air, where the cold air bacteria ferment it in a process similar to the fermenting of cheese. So fish-cheese jerky. And it's awesome. You eat it with butter. Kjötsúpa (Meat soup). Another traditional lamb dish, it was originally a way of preparing tougher pieces of meat but these days is cooked with as high quality meat as any other dish. The meat is cut into small pieces and boiled with bones and all, with rice, potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions and herbs. It is boiled for several hours before serving, though most Icelanders agree that it gets even better if you let it sit for a day and then re-heat it. “Ein með öllu” - the iconic Icelandic hot dog One of the most typically Icelandic foods is the pylsa hot dog. They contain lamb which gives them an unusual flavour, but the magic is in the sauces. A real Icelandic hot dog is served með öllu, with everything on it, which means ketchup, a sweet brown mustard, raw onions, 62
What you have to see in the region The Volcano Hekla. One of the most active volcanoes on earth, Hekla, towers 1,500 metres into the south Icelandic sky, forever threatening infernal holocaust and raucous thunder. The earliest documented eruption of Hekla took place in 1104, and since then between twenty and thirty significant eruptions have been recorded — and with the volcano sometimes remaining active for the greater part of a decade, medieval European scribes and legend makers had no choice but to place the gates of hell in its very centre. The Blue Lagoon or Bláa lónið is a geothermal spa,
filled with seawater, which is believed to have natural healing powers. The water, rich in silica and minerals, has worked well on skin related problems , and the Blue Lagoon even has a special clinic for skin treatment.It also offers a variety of luxury spa treatments. An experience in the Blue Lagoon is always beautiful; it has milky blue water and is surrounded by lava, 63
Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area. Approximately 90
kilometres east of Akureyri is Mývatn, Iceland’s fourth largest lake which was most likely formed by a catastrophic volcanic eruption some 2300 years ago. The area is still very volcanically active, the Krafla volcano being close by, its last eruption taking place in 1984. The lake is rich with birdlife, and its surroundings are composed of many of Iceland's most precious natural marvels. Unique and unusually shaped lava-formations make up the mystical Dimmuborgir(Dark cities), where, according to legend, Satan himself landed after being cast from the heavens, only to be outlawed by the local light-elves who then turned his “Catacombs of Hell” into their capital city.In the surrounding lava fields, one is likely to chance upon cracks and caves full of naturally heated water suitable for bathing.
Skaftafell Park. Measuring 4800 square kilometers, Skaftafell is home to some of the strangest and most surreal landscapes on the planet. The area is formed by a constant duel of fire and water, and camping in the greens of a birch wood forest, surrounded by black desert sands, glacial rivers, and a spur of the Vatnajökull ice cap is always a humbling experience. Numerous hiking trails take you away from the campground,
to such natural treasures as Svartifoss (Black fall), which flows over a sublime cliff of black basalt columns. Skaftafell is renowned for its warm climate and sunny summer days, and local services include guided tours around the area and onto the glacier, ice-climbing tours, transportation, food and accommodation.
What you can do in the Selfoss Selfoss has an annual festival called 'Sumar a Selfossi' ('Summer in Selfoss) in early August. Locals decorate their gardens with coloured ribbons and a fete with musicians and magicians is held by the library, culminating with a bonfire and fireworks display in the evening. TryggvaskĂĄli fills Selfoss' first house (built for bridge workers in 1890). Lovingly renovated and on the riverfront with a romantic mood, the intimate dining rooms are filled with antique touches, and the fine-dining Icelandic menu sources local produce. The owners also operate Kaffi KrĂşs.
The ‘Coffee Mug’ is a popular cafe in a charming old house along the main road. There’s great outdoor space and a large selection of Icelandic and international dishes, from nachos to excellent pizza and burgers.
Selfosskirkja The pretty riverside church in Selfoss was built in the 1950s.
Bobby Fischer Center This little museum houses the memorabilia of chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is buried 2km northeast in Laugardælirkirkja's cemetery.
General presentation of the country Portugal is a country located in the Iberian Peninsula, in South-western Europe, right next to the Atlantic Ocean. To the west and south it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east and north by Spain, in fact, the Portugal-Spain border is considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. The republic also includes, besides the continental territory, the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. Portugal is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and a high living standard. It is the 5th most peaceful country in the world, maintaining a unitary semipresidential republican form of government. Portugal is also a founding member of NATO and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is also a member of numerous other international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, the eurozone, and OECD. In 1986, Portugal joined the European Economic Community (EEC) that later became the European Union (EU). In the following years Portugal's economy progressed considerably as a result of EEC/EU structural and cohesion funds and Portuguese companies' easier access to foreign markets.
stitution grants the division or separation of powers among four bodies referred as "organs of Sovereignty": the President of the Republic, the Government, the Assembly of the Republic and the Courts. The territory of Portugal includes an area in the Iberian Peninsula and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. Portugal is defined as a Mediterranean climate and is one of the warmest European countries: the annual average temperature in mainland Portugal varies from 8–12°C in the mountainous interior north to 16–19°C – so, we can say that we have a nice weather. In the south of Portugal, the annual average temperatures can be as high as 28°C, and summer highest temperatures routinely are over 40°C – or a bit more. Snowfalls occur regularly in the winter in the interior North and Centre of the country. Administratively, Portugal is divided into 308 municipalities, which after a reform in 2013 are subdivided into 3,092 civil parishes. Operationally, the municipality and civil parish, along with the national government, are the only legally identifiable local administrative units identified by the government of Portugal (for example, cities, towns or villages have no standing in law, although may be used as catchment for the defining services). Portugal is a country whose relief has different aspects (mountains, plateaus and plains). It has the longest maritime coast in Europe and the largest Atlantic front. It’s a country that also has many rivers; the main ones are the Tagus, the Douro, the Guadiana and the Mondego. 71
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this time, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration in the Age of Discovery, with such notable discoveries as Vasco da Gama's sea route to India (1497â€“ 98), the discovery of Brazil (1500), and the reaching of the Cape of Good Hope. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo a right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the 25th of April Revolution in 1974 â€“ it was known also because it was a pacific revolution, which says a lot about the Portuguese people. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories, marking the end of the longest-lived colonial empire. Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe and a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today.
LISBON - The capital city Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 72
Its urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.7 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. [ About 3 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which represents approximately 27% of the country's population). It is continental Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon is recognised as a alpha-level global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centers on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially â€“ by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal. Lisbon has two sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: BelĂŠm Tower and JerĂłnimos Monastery. Furthermore, in 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Cul73
Other cities Porto ist the second-largest ty in Portugal after Lisbon and one of the major urban areas of the Iberian Peninsula. The urban area of Porto, which extends beyond the administrative limits of the city, has a population of 2.4 million in an area of 389 km2 making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. Located along the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its historical core was proclaimed a World Heritage Siteby UNESCO in 1996. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. One of Portugal's internationally famous exports, port wine, is named after Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport and export of the fortified wine. In 2014 and 2017, Porto was elected The Best European Destination. Porto is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.
Vila Nova de Gaia, or simply Gaia is a city and a municipality in Porto District in Norte Region, Portugal. It is located south of the city of Porto on the other side of the Douro River. The city proper had a population of 178,255 in 2001. The municipality has an area of 168.46 kmÂ˛.and a total population of 302,295 inhabitants making it the most populous municipality in Norte Region. It is also well known for its cellars (locally known as "caves") where the world-famous port wine is stored and aged. These cellars have become a major tourist attraction. Amadora is a municipality and urbanized city in the northwest of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. The population in 2011 was 175,136 in an area of 23.78 kmÂ˛. It is the most densely populated municipality in Portugal. One of the largest urban communities in Portugal, Amadora forms a conurbation with Lisbon, sharing the same subway, bus and train networks. It is dominated by large apartment blocks, commercial parks, industrial areas and some headquarters of international companies. Every year, Amadora city organizes the Amadora Inter75
Braga is a city and a municipality in the northwestern Portuguese district of Braga, in the historical and cultural Minho Province. The city had 137,000 inhabitants, and the municipality, which includes 37 civil parishes has a resident population of 181,494 inhabitants representing the seventh largest municipality in Portugal. Its area is 183.40 kmÂ˛. Its agglomerated urban area extends from the CĂĄvado River to the Este River. It is the third-largest urban centre in Portugal (after Lisbon and Porto). The city was the European Youth Capital in 2012. It is host to the archdiocese, the oldest in Portugal. Under the Roman Empire, known as Bracara Augusta, the settlement was centre of the province of Gallaecia.
Little history of Almada The municipality of Almada, with an area of 70.3 km2 , located on the left bank of the Tejo River, 4 km from Lisbon and 15 km from Portela International Airport. To the west the municipality of Almada is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. 76
Administratively it belongs to the Setubal district, in the north, is the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. The resident population in Almada is 174,030 people, of whom 82,496 are men and 91,534 are women. The percentage of young people (0 to 14 years) increased from 14.1% in 2001 to 14.7% in 2011, but the elderly (65 and over) increased also and more significantly from 16.8% to 20 5%. In education, the county has progressed in the last decades. The proportion of the population with higher education is 15%, while in 2001 was 10%. The illiteracy rate fell from 6.1% in 2001 to 3.3% in 2011. Human presence in the area of Almada dates to the end of the Neolithic period about 5000 years ago; archeological excavations performed in the municipality suggest that nonsedentary nomadic tribes may have occupied this location sporadically. The gradual development of settlement here made its greatest advance with the coming of Islamic civilization, when Muslims constructed a fort at Almada to defend and monitor the entrance to the Tagus River. Lying across the river from Lisbon, the area of Almada was a crossroads for a succession of various peoples who traded along the Tagus. As one of the principal Arab military bases along the southern margin of the Tagus, Almada was conquered by the Christian forces of Afonso I with the aid of EnglishCrusaders in 77
Almada received a foral from King Sancho I in 1190, although it came at a price: Miramolim Jacub-Abu-Jassuf, son of the Moorish leader who had laid siege to SantarĂŠmin 1171, was angered by the Christian victories and gathered a large army. He boldly attacked in the north, conquering AlcĂĄcer do Sal and Silves, while forcing the residents of Almada, Palmela and other towns along the Tagus into hiding.It would be time after the death of Sancho before this region would be restored to Portuguese control. When this event occurred with the success of the Reconquista in driving the Muslims out, the Order of Santiago, a donatorio of Almada after 28 October 1186, had an important role in the territory (especially between the Tagus and Sado Rivers). In this role, it facilitated the repopulation of acquired territories and was the beneficiary of the various local economies.
Cultural life An area that has emerged in the Portuguese cultural landscape over the course of time was arts and crafts. Especially from the 17th century, arts and crafts started gaining relevance at a national level with special relevance in areas such as ceramics, tapestry, embroidery, jewelry, among others.
known symbols of Portugal â€“ the rooster of Barcelos. This rooster is typically made in clay and, despite having origin and greatest relevance in the north of the country, itâ€™s a national icon also known in other countries as a Portuguese symbol. The glazed tile is also very common in the Portuguese traditions and its production has more than five centuries of history. We can see a magnificent example of this type of ceramics especially in churches, old train stations and in many homes. The Portuguese tradition in tapestry came in the 18th century and it is used since then for decoration of walls and murals. Themes such as the deeds of the Portuguese, religion and others are depicted in carpets. In a national and international level, the most well-known carpets are without a doubt the Arraiolos carpets. They have emerged in Alentejo, in the village of Arraiolos (hence the name) but they are already produced all over the country.These carpets are characterized by being embroidered in wool on a linen or cotton canvas with Arraiolos stitch, unique in the world.
Another form of arts and crafts very typical in the Portuguese traditions is without a doubt the lace. This textile art has sprung up in Portugal and also throughout Europe between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, during the Renaissance period. The kinds of lace better known in Portugal is the Vila do Conde lace and Peniche lace. This type is very characteristic of Portuguese coastal areas and it requires hard work, dedication and patience. If you want to know more about the embroidery crafts, nothing better than to visit the museum of embroidery crafts in Vila do Conde. We cannot fail to mention the typical skirts of NazarĂŠ, in the centre of Portugal and the Valentineâ€™s handkerchiefs, more characteristic of the north of the country. These scarves were mainly embroidered by women as a way to spend their time; women made these handkerchiefs to use them as an ornament but also to conquer their boyfriends. Finally, one of the areas with special emphasis on the Portuguese arts and crafts is the jewellery, in particular the filigree. Filigree is an ornamental work of fine (especially the gold and silver) wire formed into delicate tracery, demanding their artisans 80
much dedication; the largest production centres in Portugal are Gondomar, in Porto, and PĂłvoa de Lanhoso, in Braga. Among other pieces of Portuguese filigree, we have the hearts of Viana, crucifixes and earrings. These pieces are a decorative element to enrich traditional costumes in festivals, especially in the north of the country. The Portuguese traditions are also marked by music. One of the most characteristic musical genres in Portugal, and unique at a global level, itâ€™s Fado. This musical genre started to stand out in Portugal in the mid-nineteenth century but it was only during the decades of 30 and 40 of the next century that it won projection, by means of dissemination such as the cinema, the theatre and the radio. There are several aspects that mark this musical genre like the melancholy, the longing, the fate and destiny; about the fado singer, he has a unique way of dressing and sings like no other singer from other genres. Among the most well known singers in Portugal, people can hear Carlos do Carmo, Mariza, Ana Moura and the one and only AmĂĄlia Rodrigues, who launched fado to a worldwide audience in 1943. It should be noted that fado was considered by UNESCO as Immaterial Heritage. If you want to discover this musical genre so typical of the Portuguese traditions, nothing better than to visit one of the many existing fado houses especially in Lisbon, but also in Coimbra and Porto. 81
Prepare yourself to discover the true charm of this music genre. But not only of fado lives the Portuguese music scene. Another music genre very characteristic of this country is the folk music, present in a lot of festivals in Portugal – the most popular styles are the bailinho da Madeira, malhão and vira. These music and dance styles are very typical of rural areas, both from the mainland and from the islands and are one an excuse for people to gather and have fun.
Local gastronomy Bacalhau is Portugal’s favorite fish, so much so that it can be cooked every day of the year without repeating a recipe once. Despite the seemingly endless number of choices, most restaurants have Bacalhau à brás on their menu, which is shredded codfish with fried potato, onion and scrambled eggs. Usually, the dish is topped with a sprinkle of black olives and chopped parsley. Walk through Alfama and it will be hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t list Bacalhau à brás as a special. 82
Even if the original recipe was considered the rich man’s stew, folks around the country quickly discovered a way of making a lower-priced cozido a portuguesa, while keeping the same delicious taste. In time, it became more and more obvious that this stew can have as many recipes as the number of the families in Portugal. Therefore, when it comes to making a stew with vegetables and as many types of meat as possible (pork, beef and chicken boiling in the same pot), the sky and the cook’s imagination are the limit. Latin Europe loves their snails and the Portuguese are no different. Caracóis or caracoletas are cooked and served in a butter-garlic broth and either sucked out of their shell or fished out with a toothpick. This dish is usually part of a social scene, enjoyed while chatting with friends and/or watching a sporting event on television and nicely complimented by a cold beer. Like cod and clams, Polvo is another national staple that is cooked a varied number of ways, Polvo à Lagareiro being one of the best-loved recipes. A simple dish, Polvo à Lagareiro is grilled octopus served with grilled potatoes, sprinkled with cooked garlic and drizzled with olive oil. The word ‘lagareiro’ actually comes from the process of making olive oil, so Polvo à Lagareiro literally 83
Caldo Verde - Rivaling bacalhau for status as a national dish, this green soup could almost be called soulful, as it is often served in Lisbon nightclubs where you’ll hear fado, a traditional form of musical expression heavily laden with longing and lament. The basics of the brothy mix are cabbage, onions, and thin-sliced potatoes, sometimes accompanied by chourico sausage. No need to feign crying over lost love to try it, as you’ll find it at the many restaurants in Lisbon that specialize in dishes from the Minho province of northern Portugal, where caldo verde originated. Or spoon into it at one of the fado clubs where it will be part of the meal accompanying the show.
What you have to see in Almada Cristo Rei - On a hill 85 metres above the south bank of the Tagus Estuary is Portugal’s answer to Christ the Redeemer. This monumental statue is slightly smaller than the Rio landmark that inspired it, and stands at just under 80 metres. It had been planned since the 30s when Lisbon’s Cardinal Patriarch travelled to Brazil, but was completed in 1959 in thanks to God for keeping Portugal out of the Second World War. On the statue’s pedestal, which you’ll scale by an elevator and then a flight of steps, you can see the entire Tagus Estuary, Lisbon’s his84
25 de Abril Bridge - Another of Lisbon’s identifiers, this suspension bridge has been conducting traffic over the Tagus between since 1966. More than 50 years after it was completed it is still counted among the 30 largest suspension bridges in the world, at 70 metres high and 2.7 kilometres in length. You might also spot a resemblance to the bridges in San Francisco, and this isn’t a coincidence as it was built by the same company that made the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The upper level is for road traffic on the IP7, while the lower level has Linha do Sul railway line. Conveto dos Capuchos - In the protected coastal landscape to the west is a former convent of the Order of St Francis. It dates to 1558 and was built by Lourenço Pires de Távora, an important diplomat who was the governor of Tangier for a time in the 16th century. Being a Franciscan convent, the building is discreet, but the facade warrants a look for its tile panels depicting the life of St Francis and the coat of arms of the powerful Távora family. Museu Naval - Up to the 1990s the ocean was integral to Almada’s identity and livelihood, and by the Tagus on the Rua do Ginjal is an engaging museum safeguarding some of this heritage. The attraction is set in a long warehouse that belonged to the Olhode-Boi fishing company, which once operated one of Portugal’s largest trawling fleets. All of Almada’s former industries are represented, including shipbuilding, ship repair and fishing. In the hall 85
Parque da Paz - For some greenery you could hop on the Metro for a couple of stops to Cova da Piedade to while away an hour or so.Another aspect of Almada’s regeneration in the 90s, the park is more than 60 hectares and has leafy rest areas, a large lake, tree groves and expansive lawns.There are more than 110 tree species in the park, among the olive trees, cypresses , spruces and pines.The prolific modern sculptor José Aurélio designed the 26metre-high Monumento à Paz. Casa da Cerca - High above the riverbank is a beautiful old mansion that was acquired by the city in 1988 and soon turned into a contemporary art centre. You can potter around here for a couple of hours, perusing the exhibitions, which are mostly for local artists and updated every few months. Outside are creatively themed gardens dedicated to pigments (various flowers), fabrics (cotton and flax), oils (lavender, rosemary) and a cherry plantation, as these trees produced the gum used in early paints.
Cacilhas On Almada’s northwestern point, Cacilhas is a vibrant waterfront neighbourhood. This is where you’ll find the Lisbon-Almada ferry terminal, and until the 1990s Cacilhas was the home of Lisnave – Estaleiros Navais de Lisboa shipyards.Since then the neighbourhood has been revitalised today it’s a place to hang out, gaze across the Tagus, grab
a drink or a meal at one of the many seafood restaurants. Rua Cândido dos Reis is pedestrianised and laid with restaurant terraces, while the riverside Rua do Ginjol has a unique atmosphere for its decaying old warehouses and dreamy views.
Ferry Ride to Lisbon - There are ferries at approximate 20 minute intervals from the port at Cacilhas across the Tagus to Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré. The last boat doesn’t depart until after 01:00 am, so you’ll have plenty of time to linger over an evening meal or drink in Almada. The crossing takes 15 minutes and at €1.25 for a single is a thrifty sightseeing trip, giving you a fresh perspective of the marvellous 25 de Abril Bridge, Lisbon’s historic quarters on the north bank and back to the Cristo do Rei on its elevate perch.
What you can do in the Almada 87
It’s only 20 minutes around the coast and is in a long natural park south of Costa da Caparica. The beach, with white sand, goes on for several kilometres and is backed by limestone cliffs covered with juniper and pine scrub. There’s zero development here apart from the little village of Fonte da Telha. The waves are often surfable, but if you’re happy to relax on the shore you’ll have vistas of the Sintra Mountains, while dolphins are often sighted from the beach and the sunsets are to die for. Costa da Caparica - The beaches continue right the way up to the mouth of the Tagus. This northern part a little more touristy, but the beaches remain broad and natural. Costa da Caparica is the main resort here, and it has a string of bustling beaches in summer, as well as restaurants and schools and centres to kit you out for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and bodyboarding. In summer it’s a young and hip place to be, with a party atmosphere and all sorts of cool hangouts. And maybe the best thing is that it’s all authentically Portuguese as few foreign tourists make it to the Costa da Caparica. 88
Cuba is a municipality with 4994 inhabitants, constituted by four parishes: Cuba, Faro do Alentejo, Vila Alva and Vila Ruiva. The population in 2011 was 4,878 in an area of 172.09 km².The municipal holiday is Monday after Easter. Located near its district – Beja, it’s served by public transport (by rail and road) connecting to the main cities of the region (Beja and Évora) and the capital of the country, Lisbon. Cuba is a town with houses that still keep their yards and traditional orchards. Conquered by the Portuguese King D. Sancho II from the Moors, no one knows for sure the origin of the name but it may have been attributed due to the fact that a large number of tanks to store wine was found here. It has shown a vast and rich cultural and architectural history. It is in the local festivities that people, traditional singing and exquisite wine flavor come together. Here the flavors are still pure, bringing to table bread, cheeses, sausages and traditional dishes.
The name "Cuba" is likely of Arabic origin, pertaining to the qubba, that is "tombs", of ascetic spiritual leaders. Such toponyms are frequent in Southern Portugal and likely related to the Sufi movements that flourished during the period of Almoravid decay, such as the one led by Ibn Qasi. In the 20th century a few scholars sought to turn Colombus into a Portuguese. One of these attempts had him born in the town of Cuba, after which he would have named the Caribbean island. (possible birthplace of Christopher Columbus.) A statue honouring the explorer can be seen on the city centre. These theories gained some favour among patriotic sectors but have been easily debunked by historians and genealogists.
Cultural life Christopher Columbus: It was under the name of Christopher Columbus that the man who discovered America, in the late fifteenth century, was known in the world. In the 80s, a new discussion about the nationality of the navigator emerges, through the works of Mascarenhas Barreto. This author has pioneered a new perspective: Christopher Colon would not only be Portuguese but also from Cuba of Alentejo! 90
Diogo Dias Melgaz (Cuba (Portugal), 1638 - Évora, 1700), patron of the CEFPDDM, was a Portuguese composer of late-Renaissance sacred polyphony. He was also a choirboy at the Colégio da Claustra in Évora in 1646. He took holy orders at the Cathedral of Évora, where he stayed the rest of his life. He was the last of the great Portuguese polyphonic masters, who began to flourish in Évora in the second half of the sixteenth century. A large part of Melgaz's work is lost. The surviving works - masses, motets, graduals are kept in the archives of the Cathedrals of Évora and Lisbon.
Local gastronomy Cuba, located in Alentejo - one of the Portuguese regions best known for its original and excellent gastronomy, presents you different and tasty dishes, concocted with the rich flavours of aromatic herbs, result of the contributions made by all those who have occupied the Peninsula Iberica. From oregano to rosemary and coriander, as well as the spices, these are elements that fill the cooking with perfume, granting them that special Alentejo’s touch. Alentejo’s cuisine is a synonym of flavor, intensity and passion. In the east, especially around Évora pata negra ham is a speciality. This comes from the black Iberian pig, which has a free-range lifestyle and grazes on acorns, giving the meat a distinct, smooth flavour and marbled texture. 91
Elvas plums have DOP protection: They are cooked, soaked in sugar for six weeks and then sun-dried, and pair beautifully with cheese at the end of a meal. Alentejo is also a wine region, and if you fancy an inside look at the industry try the Herdade do Esporão winery in Monsaraz, which makes wines with New World methods (temperature control gear) using Old World grapes like Aragonês and cabernet sauvignon.
What you have to see in Cuba The Church and Gathering of Carmo / Old Hospital (XVII-XVII Century ) It’s located in the Largo do Carmo / Largo S. João de Deus, in the village of Cuba. Built between 1652-54. The convent is a building from the 18th century. The construction takes place around a rectangular courtyard, the round arches cloister supported by pillars and corbels, where they open to the level of the first floor. The building has Guillotine windows type. The Roman Bridge of Ribeira de Odivelas - Vila Ruiva - The Roman bridge of Vila Ruiva, on the Ribeira de Odivelas, has a probable date of its construction, first century B.C. but there are vestiges of reconstruction and additions, executed by the peoples that followed the Roman occupation, as Visigoths and Arabs. It’s one of the most monumental Roman bridges in Portugal, 120 meters long, about five meters wide and also 92
about five meters high.
Sustained by pillars with eyes, finishing arcs of very perfect curvature, more than 20, but the exact number is not known, since some of these arches are buried. This bridge is classified as National Monument. Mother Church of São Vicente. The church began to be built in the year 1500 on the initiative of the friars of St. Vincent. It’s lined with 17th century tiles and its interior is large and decorated with 17th century tile panels and panels of saints. The altarpieces and statuary date from the XVII and XVIII centuries.
Building of the Court of the Region of Cuba. It’s located in Largo Cristovão Colon (common Largo do Tribunal) in the village of Cuba. There may possibly have existed the palace of D. Luís, son of King Manuel I. It was never actually inhabited and degraded in such a way that its stones were, for Order of D. Filipe, used in the construction of a chain in the village and some housing. You are most welcome to discover Cuba and unveil a secret well-kept for 140 years – the eco PBR Manor. More than a story, you will have the possibility to know about several compelling stories. Not only reveal about Cuba through the époques, but also about lifestyles and how 6 family generations sought to p re se r ve a h e r it a ge that b e lo n gs to e ve r yo n e . Since every story has a beginning, this one begins with two brothers, Maria and Mario who made possible the renovation carried out in 2014 and 2015. This is truly a very special private Manor, with about 140 years of History, dating back to the 19th 93
What you can do in the Cuba Cante Alentejano is a traditional musical genre of Alentejo, Portugal. Singing has never been the only expression of traditional music in Alentejo, being in fact more typical of the lower Alentejo. With “cante”, there always coexisted instrumental forms of music with adaptation of plays between genres. On November 27, 2014, during the meeting of the Committee in Paris, UNESCO considered “Cante Alentejano” as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Cuba is “Cante”. Cante Alentejano is, by itself, one of the greatest cultural manifestations of the Council of Cuba, in what is considered the "Cathedral of Cante". Carnival. The parade is organized by the Municipality of Cuba. It’s a ludic and recreational activity whose main objective is to promote and dynamize the municipality in a touristic way, through the celebration of this festive season. Cuba's Annual Fair. This event has as main objective the promotion of local economic activities. It’s a Traditional Fair, where exhibitions, crafts, trade, typical regional products, musical shows and animation mark a constant presence.
General presentation of the country Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe.It borders the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Moldova. It has an area of 238,397 square kilometres and a temperatecontinental climate. With almost 20 million inhabitants, the country is the seventh most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth-largest city in the EU, with 1,883,425 inhabitants as of 2011. The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu, at 2,544 m. Romania is a developing country and as of 2017 its economy is growing at an estimated annual rate of 5%. Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy. It has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. A strong majority of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language. The cultural history of Romania is often referred to when dealing with influential artists, musicians, inventors, and sportspeople. 98
With an area of 238,391 square kilometres, Romania is the largest country in Southeastern Europe and the twelfthlargest in Europe.It lies between latitudes 43째 and 49째 N and longitudes 20째 and 30째 E. The terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountains, hills, and plains. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000 m or 6,600 ft, the highest of which is Moldoveanu Peak at 2,544 m or 8,346 ft. They are surrounded by the Moldavianand Transylvanian plateaus and Carpathian Basin and Wallachian plains. The Danube river forms a large part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria, and flows into the Black Sea, forming the Danube Delta, which is the second-largest and best-preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. At 5,800 km2, the Danube Delta is the largest continuous marshland in Europe and supports 1,688 different plant species alone. Owing to its distance from open sea and position on the southeastern portion of the European continent, Romania has a climate that is temperate and continental, with four distinct seasons. There are some regional differences: in the western parts, such as Banat, the climate is milder and has some Mediterranean influences; the eastern part of the country has a more pronounced continental climate. In Dobruja, the Black Sea also exerts an influence over the region's climate .
Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe, covering almost 27% of the territory. Some 3,700 plant species have been identified in the country, from which to date 23 have been declared natural monuments, 74 missing, 39 endangered, 171 vulnerable, and 1,253 rare. According to a very widespread legend, the colors red, yellow and blue would have been used since ancient times by the Romanians as their symbol or others to designate them. These colors are found on the diplomas issued by Mihai Viteazul, on the shields and on the lambrechins of the stems, but because until the beginning of the nineteenth century the consciousness of forming a nation existed only in a few scholars like Grigore Ureche, they were not used to identify the Romanians, and the flags of the Romanian countries until the second decade of the 19th century were those inherited from the Middle Ages, with a heraldic symbolism unrelated to the modern idea of “nation“. Tricolor, as a symbol of the Romanian nation, appears at the beginning of the 19th century:thus, it is worth noting the presence of the three colors in the canapés and the paintings on the banner of the Tudor Vladimirescu revolt, in which they are first attributed the meaning:“Liberty Heaven”, Justice(the yellow of fields), Brotherhood(blood red)”. The tricolor was first adopted in Wallachia in 1834 as a battle flag, when the reformer ruler Alexandru D. Ghica submitted to the sultan Mahmud II the model of the naval battle flags and pavilions. This model was a “red, blue and yellow flag, with stars and a bird in the middle”. Soon, the order of the colors was changed, 100
BUCHAREST - The capital city Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″E44°25′ 57″N 26°06′14″E, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border. Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the centre of Romanian media, culture, and art. Its architecture is a mix of historical (neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and art deco), communist-era and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of "Little Paris". According to the 2011 census, 1,883,425 inhabitants live within the city limits. Adding the satellite towns around the urban area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.27 million people. According to Eurostat, Bucharest has a functional urban area of 2,412,530 residents .Bucharest is the sixth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, and Paris. 101
Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. The city has big convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional "shopping arcades", and recreational areas. The city proper is administratively known as the "Municipality of Bucharest" , and has the same administrative level as that of a national county, being further subdivided into six sectors, each governed by a local mayor.
Other cities Cluj-Napoca is the second most populous city in Romania, after the national capital Bucharest, and the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country's largest university, BabeČ™Bolyai University, with its famous botanical garden; nationally renowned cultural institutions; as 102
Iași is the largest city in eastern Romania and the seat of Iași County. Located in the historical region of Moldavia, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life Home to the oldest Romanian university and to the first engineering school, Iași is one of the most important education and research centres of the country, and accommodates over 60,000 students in 5 public universities. The social and cultural life revolves around the Vasile Alecsandri National Theater (the oldest in Romania), the Moldova State Philharmonic, the Opera House, the Iași Athenaeum, a famous Botanical Garden (the oldest and largest in Romania), the Central University Library (the oldest in Romania), the high quality cultural centres and festivals, an array of museums, memorial houses, religious and historical monuments. Constanța historically known as Tomis is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania. It was founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region. The Port of Constanța has an area of 103
largest ports in Europe. One of the largest cities in Romania, Constanța is now an important cultural and economic center, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town center. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Timișoara is the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania.The city centre largely consists of buildings from the Austrian Empire era. The old city consists of several historic areas. These are: Cetate, Iosefin, Fabric. Numerous bars, clubs and restaurants have opened in the old Baroque square (Unirii Square). Timisoara used to be called the Little Wien due to its high number of parks, flowers and green areas. So go ahead and enjoy a nice walk in Civic Park, Roses Park, Botanic Park, Justice Park or maybe Poporului Park. You’d be amazed that you can enjoy the fresh air and the quiet without even leaving the downtown area. Timișoara is the main educational and academic centre in west of Romania. Timișoara has four public universities and four private universities.
In 16 September 2016 Timișoara was selected as Romanian host city of European Capital of Culture in 2021. The city will co-host the event with Novi Sad and Eleusis.
Little history of Braila Braila County took its name after Braila harbour. It was the most important harbour in Valachia. Braila was mentioned for the first time in an official document in 1368 in a commercial privilege given to the traders of Brasov by the ruler Vladislav Vlaicu. Braila was conquered by turks and turned into a raia. It gained its freedom in 1828. In Braila there are 13 religious institutions such as the Greek Church, the Armenian Church, the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, 4 synagogues and many Orthodox Churches. • In 1817 the first school in the city was opened. • In 1832 the city had a public school with teachers paid by the state. The city was also lightened by lanterns and the central public square was paved. A military hospital was being born at the same time. • In 1833 the city had its first farmacy. • In 1835 the municipality built the Belvedere Garden (the public garden). • In 1846 the city had the first bank. 105
• In 1858 the public lightning was done by petrol lanterns. • In 1868 - the first railroad. • In 1881, the library and the museum were created. For the first time, reinforced concrete was used in Braila. • In 1883 the musical society Lyra started its activity. • In 1900 the city had the electric tramway and electric lightbulbs. • In 1906 – the statue of Traian Emperor • In 1909 – the boat clock in the public square.
Cultural life Music. Braila was the place where Hariclea Darclée was born in 1861. She became one of the greatest sopranos in the world. In recognition of this fact, on 14 January 1900, she was invited to sing on the stage of the opera Scala in Milan for the first time in the opera "Tosca", dazzling the public with every performance, regardless of the meridian where she sang. The Philharmonics “Lyra” was built in 1919. The President of the company was the famous singer Gh. Cavadia, the author of some very appreciated romances before the First World War.
Literature. Braila is also the town where Panait Istrati sees the light of day in 1884. He is the Romanian writer of French expression , author of reference works such as : Codin, Haiducii, Neranțula, Ciulinii Bărăganului and especially of the two masterpieces appreciated in the European culture: Chira Chiralina and the Confession of a defeated. The oldest library in Braila, the "Public Library“, was set up in January 1881 at the initiative of the teachers of the gymnasium. It purchased a number of 5,000 volumes in 1906, the same year when it became "the Municipal Library". In 1929, at the anniversary of 100 years of Brăila’s releasing under the Turks, the great engineer Gh. T. Marinescu editted “The Annals of Braila”. In the literature field, among the personalities related to Braila, there are: Anton Bacalbașa, Fănuș Neagu, Dumitru Panaitescu-Perpessicius , Mihail Sebastian , Gh. Banea, George Baronzi, Theodor Constantin, Mihail Crama, Tinu Dinu, Mihu Dragomir, Gabriel Dimisianu, Iuliu Cezar Săvescu, Mircea Ștefănescu, Ilarie Voronca and many others. Before The First World War, the number of people in Brăila who had been creative in 107
Such examples are: Prof. Gh. M. Murgoci - in the field of geology; in the same field Ion Băncilă had also activated, Victor Vâlcovici in the field of mathematics, I.D. Stefanescu was known in the history of art, Bazil Munteanu activated in the field of Romanian and French literature; Marius Georgescu and Mina Minovici were active in medicine, and G. K. Constantinescu in the field of animal industries. These people had been teachers in the University of Bucharest. Other outstanding personalities of the city were: Panait Cerna (18811813), a poet of rare sensitivity and a deep reflexive who is still recognized as the singer of exquisite beauties of morals; Ana Aslan (1897-1988) - academician whose products Gerovital H3 and Aslavital, struggle with the effects of aging and are among the most appreciated in the world; Maria Filotti (1883-1956), a temperamental actress who had become a female artist of the Romanian people.
Local gastronomy The Lipovans’ Fish Borsch. The Russian Lipovans in Braila kept unchanged for hundreds of years the culinary traditions inherited from generation to generation, such as fish borsch, prepared after a recipe born from their passion for fishing. The elderly fishermen, excited to hear that there is an interest in finding the recipe, shared the secret of the Lipovan’s borsch fish. "The Lipovan’s fish borsch is made of several varieties of fish: pike, catfish, carp, crucian fish. A good borsch is made with several fish 108
since the previous evening. At a 10 kg pot, which is preferred to be boiled at firewood, we use 4-5 onions, 3-4 peppers, 3-4 tomatoes, lovage , salt, oil and vinegar. When the vegetables are almost cooked, we add the fish starting with the largest, because it boils more. We add 1-2 tablespoons of salt, and when the first boiling moment takes place , we add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar. You will see that the borsch juice will whiten immediately. Here's the secret, you need to know when to add the salt and the vinegar. You add the vinegar and the salt and always taste. The fish is well cooked when the fins are easily detached. When the borsch is ready, we throw some chopped lovage in the kettle, we take it from the fire and put the lid on it. Pay attention, while it is boiling, you shouldnâ€™t cover the pot because the borsch will have the taste of raw fish. Once it's ready, take the fish separately on the plates and eat it with horseradish. But the city of Braila has a rich cuisine of recipes with various flavours which worth to be tried such as: mushroom white sauce stew, fish patties (on the Danube and in the Danube Delta, the meatballs are usually made of fish fillets with fine bones of carp and pike) , Traditional Christmas recipes sausages made with liver, dishes using pig's feet, head and ears suspended in aspic , traditional Easter recipes 109
What you have to see in Braila The water castle in Braila represents one of the most important historical and cultural symbols, being considered a historical monument built in 1912. Over time, the BrÄƒila Water Castle had been occupied with several functions. Not many are those who know that this tourist destination was the first restaurant and bar in the country. Its name is not accidental, but it has the role of feeding half the population of Braila . Speaking so much about water, we can not omit the famous Kinetic Fountain. It was made by the sculptor Constantin Lucaci, known for his skill in making sculptures in stainless steel. This tourist attraction of the city creates some spectacular water games. The combination of Renaissance style with Enlightenment culture succeeds in creating this unique impressive fountain. The fountain is a large sculpture. Photos speak for themselves. A Horologe in the City of Braila? It is a real historical monument, but also a valuable work of art. The horologe of Braila is like a guard at the crossing between the old and the new city. 110
The Braila horologe has a rather beautiful architectural style, astonishing anyone who arrives in this city through beauty and grandeur. Over time, around the Horologe of Braila, several trees were planted, creating a park that serves as a promenade for residents and tourists alike. Maria Filotti Theatre in Braila is a prestigious institution of the Romanian theatre, having a 150year tradition, of which 50 years of permanent activity. Today, it is a repertory theatre, with a group of 26 actors, 2 directors and 1 scenographer.
What you can do in the Braila In the sporting field, in Braila, there are also: - 9 sports clubs; - 74 sports associations; - 2 Olympic-level sections (swimming and kayaking); - 6 international sections (boxing, kayaking, motorcycling, Weightlifting, football and volleyball); - 36 national level sections; 17 teams in national divisions (National Division C Division and Junior Division). 111
If you want a different relaxation, Promenada Mall is at your disposal. It is a commercial centre in Romania. It hosts dozens of shops and a place dedicated to a cinema. It has a leasable area of 60,000 square meters, a parking lot with 1,258 seats and it is located in the village of Varsatura near Braila. The joy in Braila city floats in the air during these days. From August 11th to August 15th, Braila City organizes attractions for all tastes. From music performances, culinary delights to theatre plays with cartoon characters for children, all tastes are to be satisfied. If you look for diversity and want to combine usefulness with pleasure y o u have come to the r i g h t place.
General presentation of the country Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, with there also being two large archipelagoes, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands off the African Atlantic coast, two cities, Ceutaand Melilla, on the African mainland and several small islands in the Alboran Sea near the African coast. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population,46.7 million, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid Spanish recognised in the constitution as Castilian is the official language of the entire country, and it is the right and duty of every Spaniard to know the language. The other official languages of Spain, co-official with Spanish are: Basque, Catalan and Galician. According to a study about 70% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics. The Spanish currency is euro. The Head of state is King Felipe VI. 116
General presentation of the country At 505,992 km2, Spain is the world's fifty-second largest country and Europe's fourth largest country. Mount Teide (Tenerife) is the highest mountain peak in Spain and is the third largest volcano in the world from its base. Spain is a transcontinental country. Spain lies between latitudes 26° and 44° N, and longitudes 19° W and 5° E. On the west, Spain is bordered by Portugal; on the south, it is bordered by Gibraltar (a British overseas territory) and Morocco, through its exclaves in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla, and the peninsula of Vélez de la Gomera). On the northeast, along the Pyrenees mountain range, it is bordered by France and the Principality of Andorra. Along the Pyrenees in Girona, a small exclave town called Llívia is surrounded by France. Extending to 1,214 km, the Portugal–Spain border is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. Spain also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and a number of uninhabited islands on the Mediterranean side of the Strait of Gibraltar, known as plazas de soberanía ("places of sovereignty", or territories under Spanish sovereignty), such as the Chafarinas Islands and Alhucemas. The peninsula of Vélez de la Gomera is also regarded as a plaza de soberanía. The isle of Alborán, located in the Mediterranean between Spain and North Africa, is also administered by Spain, specifically by the municipality 117
General presentation of the country Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Spain's history and culture are made up of a rich mixture of diverse elements. Through exploration and conquest, Spain became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39) and the following 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of Dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 , with King Juan Carlos as head of state, and rapid economic modernization gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities.
(monetary phase) to replace the Spanish peseta In 1982 Spain joined NATO. Spain is also a member country of the Schengen Area in which border controls with other Schengen members have been eliminated while at the same those with non-Schengen countries have been strengthened.
MADRID - The capital city Madrid: "From Madrid to heaven". Madrid, the capital of Spain since 1562, is also the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula. Its altitude, being on a plateau, and the proximity to the mountains that surround it, influence its climate, characterized by its torrid summers and relatively cold winters. It is a city with an attractive mix of tradition and modernity. It has a very peculiar historical center, built at the time when the Habsburg dynasty reigned in Spain (XVI-XVII centuries), hence the name "Madrid de los Austriasâ€?. The eighteenth century left its neoclassical imprint on the splendid ensemble of the Royal Palace, Sabatini Gardens and Campo del Moro, which are located in the center of the capital. You will find the most modern and avant-garde Madrid in the widening areas in its two main axes: the Gran VĂa and the Paseo de La Castellana. Today they are the current shopping and entertainment center of the capital. You will find there some of the most elegant hotels in the capital, along with companies that have placed their headquarters in modern avant-garde buildings. 119
And of course, three museums, located very close to each other, which have configured the already known as "Paseo del Arte". They are the Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Reina SofĂa National Art Center Museum, which make up one of the most important art galleries in the world.
Other cities Barcelona: "In continuous creation". Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, located northwest on the Mediterranean coast, is undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan and economically active city in Spain. Of course Barcelona also has a very old history, as we can see in its numerous Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance monuments, or even in archaeological remains from even older periods. Barcelona has been an important center of modernism, distinguished especially by the works of Antoni GaudĂ, who, together with some great contemporary artists, has given the city a new and exciting aspect that has placed it at the top of modernism. You can also relax along the entire coastline of Barcelona, where there is a promenade that runs along several beaches with clean waters and clear sands. Valencia: "The bright city". Located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, you will 120
Spain, and one of the liveliest. The development of important International Fairs has contributed to this; and also cultural events, such as the construction of the City of Arts and Sciences. And sports, such as having hosted the America's Cup, the most important sailing competition in the world, or the Grand Prix of Formula I that takes place in a spectacular urban circuit that runs through the area of the Port. But you cannot forget Las Fallas, amazing fiestas of light and fire that will impress your retina and your hearing. Bilbao: "The great Bilbao". Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country and also the most important one as to the economy. It also has the most important port in the region. In recent years, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has achieved such worldwide fame that visits to this attractive city are frequently due just to it. However, Bilbao has many attractions. Its gastronomy is one of them: it is a mixture of tradition and avant -garde. In addition to good restaurants, you can savor the "Pintxosâ€? in all bars, those are small snacks that usually come on bread and that offer the most imaginative and delicious combinations of flavors. Seville: "Joy, grace and charm". Seville is the capital of Andalusia. Your visit to this city will take you to the heart of the Andalusian culture given that it is a very important center of 121
sunshine per year, also attracted Carthaginians, Phoenicians and, of course, Romans. Two of their emperors, Trajan and Adriano, were born here. Its fluvial port was the starting point of Columbus towards America. The Giralda, the Cathedral, the Plaza de España, the Archivo de Indias, the Torre de Oro, the Mudéjar Pavilion and the Alcázar are places you cannot miss. Zaragoza is the capital city of the Zaragoza province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. On 1 September 2010 the population of the city of Zaragoza was 701,090 within its administrative limits on a land area of 1,062.64 square kilometres. The city is famous for its folklore, local gastronomy, and landmarks such as the Basílica del Pilar, La Seo Cathedral and the Aljafería Palace. Together with La Seo and the Aljafería, several other buildings form part of the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fiestas del Pilar are among the most celebrated festivals in Spain.
Little history of Calahorra Calahorra is a municipality in Rioja Baja. It is near the border with Navarre on the river Ebro. During ancient Roman times, Calahorra was known as Calagurris Fibularia. The city is located on a hill at an altitude of 358 metres (1,175 ft) at the confluence of the Ebro and Cidacos rivers. It has an area of 91.41 square kilometres (35.29 sq mi). Calahorra is the second-largest city in La Rioja in population and importance. 21,060 people live there. People have lived in the area that is now Calahorra since the Paleolithic. It has had a stable population since the Iron Age. Rome took control of the town in 187 BC. They made it more important as an administrative centre for regions near it. Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar gave the city (then named Calagurris) converted the town into a municipality. They developed its city planning, economy, and politics. Its archeological remains show that it had a circus, baths, an amphitheatre, and other things found in large cities. It minted money and served as a justice administration centre.
In the historic centre of Calahorra there are still a good many vestiges of its past, such as the Cathedral, in an elevated flamboyant Gothic style and with a main front bearing alabaster figures, which dates from the 15th century; and its San JerĂłnimo door, in the plateresque style. In the Muslim old town there is a Roman arch and the church of San AndrĂŠs, from the 16th century. In Plaza del Raso, a former Roman forum, stands the church of Santiago, the finest example of La Rioja's Neoclassic style. Also worth a visit are the Municipal Museum, which contains some 11,000 archaeological pieces, among them the famous Dama Calagurritana, and the Carmelite convent, which houses a splendid Christ tied to the column by Gregorio FernĂĄndez. The Marco Fabio Quintiliano Parador de Turismo is in the central Paseo del Mercadal.
Cultural life La Rioja is the smallest region of mainland Spain, bordered by Navarre, Castile & Leon and Aragon. One of the most important winegrowing areas of Europe, it has a reputation bigger than its land area. Extending along the Ebro River, the region is practically split into two, 124
The region is rich in natural attractions and offers the visitor a great deal as well as the many opportunities to taste the famous local wines. This region offers great possibilities for rural tourism, and if you like hunting, fishing, climbing or hiking this is where you need to be. From the air, La Rioja looks like a large bowl, a depression surrounded by mountains. The mountains protect the area from the elements which gives the area its own climate that is particularly good for the growing of grapes. Despite the fact that La Rioja produces fantastic wines, some of the best wines in Spain come from the Basque Country. The Rioja wines have a character of their own and in some areas the wine is still fermented in whole bunch and foot treading style. A particular good wine made under these conditions is the Vina Lur. It is best to avoid the cheap wines. A year spent in oak barrels is worthy of the extra cost. The region has a wide range of crafts to offer such as the famous, fine furniture, barrels, utensils and wooden carvings, leather goods, tapestries and wicker work. Colourful ceramics and metal work also abound in the area. There are four fiestas of interest to the tourist: La Vendimia is held in LogroĂąo on September 21st and is a display of grape-treading, floats and wine -tasting. The fiestas in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on May 12th inclu125
La Batalla del Vino in Haro on June 29th is an authentic battle with the 'blood of the earth' used as the only weapon, dousing the participants in a shower of wine. The ancient Danza de los Zancos, held in Anguiano on June 22nd is a day of traditional dancing on stilts. There are textile crafts studio where people produce fabrics on hand looms and to promote, disseminate and research Riojan handicrafts.They make custom fabrics, women's and gentlemen's complements, home textiles, baby clothes, corporate gifts, textile jewellery and more.They also provide training in high- and low-heddle looms, fabrics with knots, felt, tapestries on frames, etc.. They try to recover old traditions: carding and spinning wool, natural dyes. The traditional potter's trade has been passed on from one generation tot he next. Thanks to this, AlfarerĂa Naharro is one of the few artisan pottery workshops that use a manual wheel, instead of using mechanical means. Within traditional pottery, it stands out for recovering pieces that had been lost in La Rioja, Navarre and the Basque Country. With 900 members, Trujal 5 Valles is the largest cooperative olive-oil mill in La Rioja. Farmers in the valleys of the Cidacos, 126
Located in Arnedo, the mill is fitted with modern systems to produce oils of the highest quality. The cooperative markets its protected designation of origin oil under the 5 Valles brand. It is a blend of native olive varieties. The main olive varieties used are Redondilla, Arbequina, Empeltre and Picual.
Local gastronomy Chops “to the vine shoot”. “Lamb chops to the vine shoot” is one of the distinctive dishes of La Rioja cuisine. The perfect settings for their preparation are summer gatherings or popular festivals. The shoots are vine stems that are collected and left to dry after pruning; they must be dry and at least one year old since pruning took place. They are set on fire, and when they become embers they are spread out and the meat is placed on a grill on top of them. Before placing the meat you have to burn the grill directly on the fire and (once burned) clean it with newspaper to eliminate any residue. After doing this, place the chops on the grill, close it and roast well on both sides. For a perfect harmony they have to be accompanied with a good Rioja wine, preferably a red and aged one, to enjoy the smoky aromas of the meat. The embers should be 127
Potatoes in the Rioja style. It is a typical dish from La Rioja made basically with chorizo, potatoes and paprika. It is perfect for a popular tasting. The invasion of Napoleon spread the consumption of potatoes as staple food in Spain in the nineteenth century. In the town of Aldeanueva de Ebro, potatoes were used to feed the day laborers, and it was there that during the threshing work the threshing floor potatoes were mixed with Rioja sausage. It is amazing how these simple and humble ingredients can come together and result in so much flavor. To start with, peel and finely chop a small onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 red pepper; cut a sausage of 250 gr. in slices of 2 cm. of thickness and peel and cube approximately 1 kg potatoes into pieces of about 5 cm. For the next step, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan or pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook it for one minute. Then add the chorizo and fry until it begins to brown. Following that add salt, a teaspoon each of both sweet and hot paprika, a bay leaf, and cook it all for a couple of minutes. Add the potatoes and stir everything to mix it. Then, pour a liter of chicken broth, cover the pot and cook over low heat. After that, remove the lid and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the liquid has been reduced by half. Serve it in a soup bowl with rustic bread.
sugar. It is served covered with icing sugar and it has a peculiar rectangular shape with a raised edge. It is the typical sweet of the popular and local patron saint celebrations. For the filling we will need: 200g of ground almonds, 2 medium eggs, 150g of sugar and the grated zest of one lemon. We will make the filling by mixing the ground almonds with the sugar and eggs. The puff pastry is stretched with the roller to about 3 mm thick. Then the “fardelejos” rectangles are cut, in the desired size. A spoonful of almond cream is placed in the center of each rectangle, and the edges are closed by pressing with the tip of a fork as if they were dumplings. Then, oil is put in a pan and when it is hot, the “fardelejos” are fried. They are let to drain on kitchen paper and when cooled they are served dusted with icing sugar. Pears from Rincón de Soto to Rioja wine. This is one of the most characteristic desserts of La Rioja. It is very suitable for spring and especially recommended in the summer months to temper the heat. The great secret of this dish is undoubtedly two of the most characteristic products from the Rioja land: wine, on the one hand, which is already quite well known, and Rincón de Soto pears. Its preparation is very simple: Delicately peel 4 dessert or conference variety pears; keep them whole and with their stalk intact. Place them in a saucepan with a bottle of Rioja young wine, 200 gr. of sugar, a couple of cinnamon sticks, 10 gr. of black pepper and two 129
so that the pears soften and acquire the characteristic red color of this dessert. When that time has elapsed, add two small glasses of Pedro Ximénez sweet wine and cook everything over a low heat, with the lid on, for ten to fifteen minutes until the wine has been reduced. Once this process is finished, you can place the pears on a plate or deep dish with the remaining wine to let them cool for a couple of hours. It is preferable to serve them cold to improve their flavor.
What you have to see in Calahorra Calahorra is one of the oldest cities in La Rioja. In 1982 it celebrated the two-thousandth anniversary of its foundation as a Roman city, but the settlements in this area go back to the Indo-European culture. The following places are some of the most worthwhile visiting. Cathedral. It is basically a gothic building, of different styles and times. Raised on the place of the martyrdom of the patrons of the city, Saint Emeterio and Saint Celedonio, it is a masonry building with three naves, transept, ambulatory and cloister. On the outside: The northern plateresque facade, dedicated to Saint Jerónimo. From the interior: the Renaissance stalls of the choir, the plateresque altarpieces of the chapels of Saint Pedro and the Visitation, the gothic bars, the Christ of the Ball carving (14th century) and the splendid gothic Baptismal Font. The Sacristy and the Plateresque Cloister house the Diocesan Museum, with pieces of great interest such as a Sacred Bible of the 12th 130
The “Humilladero” or “Cruise” The term “Humilladero” is applied to the devotee place that used to be in the entrances or exits of towns, with a pillar, a cross or an image, or a monument with a pillar or pillars of pointed form. The “Humilladero” or “Crucero” is at the entrance to the city of Calahorra. Its style is gothic-plateresque, and it is a boundary cross of the 16th century located next to the Cidacos River and near the hermitage of El Carmen. It is a square temple of arches slightly pointed on balusters attached to the pillars of the abutments and covered by a starry ribbed vault. It welcomes pilgrims who, using the Roman road that linked the city with the Mediterranean, headed towards Compostela, making the Jacobean Route of the Ebro Valley. The Romanization Museum It is located in the historic center of the city. The building is a modernist palace, built around 1930, which is popularly known as the "House of the Millionaire". Later on this building had other uses as a notary’s office and tenants housing, until it finally became a Municipal Museum. It was inaugurated in 1984 by their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain. It underwent a reform in 2007 to become the Museum of Romanization and opened in 2009.
where architectural works of greater weight are exposed. The building maintains its original structure, although some rooms have been remodeled to be used in exhibition spaces: Pre-Roman villages in La Rioja; War and conquest, and the first signs of Romanization; The “domus” or Roman house; Economic, agricultural, livestock and craft activities; Leisure, religion, worship and play. The Museum of Romanization brings together more than a thousand archaeological pieces contributed by the Museum of La Rioja and the Municipal Museum of Calahorra. With it, the Calahorra municipality recovers its proud Roman past and claims its status as a bimillennial city. The museographic project has been based on color (each room has a color alluding to its content), light and historical setting that takes a chronological journey from the fourth century BC until the fourth century of our era. The Ideal Theater. The Ideal Cinema Theater was built in 1925 by Mr. Alejandro Martínez Salazar "El Chispas" (meaning “sparkles”). Its implementation was a great battle with the other existing theater in Calahorra, the "Teatro Díaz" which was closed in the mid-50s. The Ideal Cinema Theater was the real contemporary coliseum of Calahorra, as it had 370 patio seats, 92 seats, 48 amphitheaters, 54 front seats and 240 seats on the third or general floor, which gives us a total capacity of 804 seats.
What you can do in Calahorra The festivities The Calahorra traditional festivities revolve around its saint patrons, Saint Emeterio and Saint Celedonio, and take place twice a year: on March 3rd in winter (on the date of the martyrdom of the Saints), and from August 25th to 31st (the major festivities). They are popular festivals in which the “Peñas” play an important role, and a wide program of activities for all ages creates a relaxed atmosphere which welcomes everyone (festivals, children's shows, sports, wild cow enclosures, etc.). The Calahorra Easter Celebration is a Festival of National Tourist Interest. Some "minor" processions take place throughout the week, which culminate in the Great Procession of the Holy Burial on Good Friday, with more than 20 floats, 400 workers and thousands of participants. The staging of the Christ’s Passion, on Holy Thursday, and the great Roman Market on Saturday and Palm Sunday (“Mercafórum”) complete the traditional program. Recreation and hiking places: -The Estanca-Perdiguero reservoir. It is located 4 km from the urban center. Its access is excellent and there is a wide road which borders the entire perimeter. Surrounded by pine trees, it is an ideal area for sports and fishing, as well as for spending a day in the country. -The Degollada swamp. Several intercommunicated pools with a large 133
-The Cidacos Park. It is a park on the river bank prepared for recreation and leisure of the whole family, with playgrounds, places for eating and fountains. -The Cidacos green way. It is a 34 Kms route, which links Calahorra with Arnedillo. It was an old narrow-gauge railway line, which has been recovered for hiking. -The Vegetable paths. They make it possible to go on excellent walks in nature around Calahorra. They are five independent trails from which we can observe through the Calahorra orchards both the horticultural products and the work of the farmers. Sports With the aim of enabling access to proper sports for all citizens, the City Council offers a series of modern and perfectly equipped sports facilities to promote basic, elite or leisure sports in our city and support local sports clubs. In accordance with this, many courses are programmed every year, aimed at all ages, to promote sports and empower the local athletes. There is a wide variety of clubs and sports activities: indoor soccer, volleyball, archery, kick boxing, basketball, skating, ping-pong, chess, badminton, skiing, rhythmic gymnastics, handball, athletics, ball, chess, underwater activities, mountain club, swimming, tennis, windsurfing, karate, fishing, cycling as well as different sports clubs and sports initiation schools. Indoor and summer swimming pools 134
nis courts, four tennis courts, two indoor soccer courts, a basketball court, a covered “pelota” court, a football field with natural grass, a thermal area, a gymnasium and two multipurpose rooms. There is an outdoor recreational pool, a heated indoor recreational pool and a 25m indoor heated sports pool which deserve a special mention. The outdoor pool and the heated pool have hydraulic cranes to facilitate access to wheelchair users or people with mobility problems. Cinemas and theaters There are eight cinemas in Calahorra, all of them located in the ARCCA shopping center, two of which are equipped for the exhibition of 3D movies. Their total capacity is of 1,394 spectators. The cinemas open in the afternoon from Monday to Sunday, and on Wednesday they offer discount tickets. The Ideal Theater has 500 seats. Some of the important plays that are touring Spain are staged there. In addition, it is the perfect place for amateur theater groups, the Calahorra “Maestro Arroyo” Municipal Music Band and several local schools to show their work. 135
This Travel guide is the product of the strategic partnership DESS— Democratic European Schools for Success, financed through the Erasmus+ Programm. 2016-1—ROo1-KA201-024569
The support of the European Commission in publishing this product doesn't constitute the approval of it’s content which reflects only the point of view of the others
Cover design: prof. Carstiuc Sorinel Editing: prof. Neacsu Liliana prof. Zlavog Ioana-Mihaela